Fashion rolls up for Dior’s chic strongwoman circus

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A model presents a creation by designer Maria Grazia Chiuri as part of her Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2019 collection show for fashion house Dior in Paris, France, January 21, 2019. (REUTERS)
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Italian actress Asia Argento presents a creation by Antonio Grimaldi during the 2019 Spring-Summer Haute Couture collection fashion show in Paris, on January 21, 2019. (AFP)
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Italian actress Asia Argento presents a creation by Antonio Grimaldi during the 2019 Spring-Summer Haute Couture collection fashion show in Paris, on January 21, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 22 January 2019
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Fashion rolls up for Dior’s chic strongwoman circus

  • “The circus is a world of its own, which passes from town to town, changing each one a little as it goes — a bit like fashion week,” the creator added

PARIS: Italian designer Maria Grazia Chiuri took Christian Dior to the circus Monday with arguably her most sublimely balanced collection for the Paris haute couture label.
A troupe of all-female acrobats of all body shapes led out the show inside a retro big top — complete with harlequin-pattern floor — built in the gardens of the Rodin Museum in the center of the French capital.
Chiuri is the first woman ever to lead the mythic French label, and her feminism is never far away.
All her nearly 70 models wore glittery skullcaps fastened under their chins — think aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart meets commedia dell’arte character Pierrot.
But there was nothing remotely clownish about the muted elegance of the clothes, featuring lashings of embroidery and beadwork, to summon up the spirit of the circus-set 1917 ballet “Parade.”
That legendary show pooled the talents of Pablo Picasso — who did the sets and costumes — the composer Erik Satie, writer Jean Cocteau and Sergei Diaghilev and his Ballets Russes.
Chiuri’s designs mixed the romantic and the muscular, cutting her dreamy organza and tulle dresses with whip smart ringmaster and lion-tamer jackets, leather corsets and high-wire jumpsuits.
“Every look has its own personality, just like circus characters,” she told AFP, “brave, funny, happy and sad.”
“The circus is a world of its own, which passes from town to town, changing each one a little as it goes — a bit like fashion week,” the creator added.

The tattooed lady, that staple of the Victorian sideshow, also got a drum roll with a look inspired by Maud Wagner, America’s first known female tattoo artist.
The designer, who sports a few herself, floated surrealist neck tattoos in a previous show.
Critics predicted her silk bandage roll gowns and architectural tutus would also be a hit with haute couture’s super-rich clientele, the only people who can afford the handmade creations which are shown only in Paris.
Chiuri said she took her powdery palette from the stage curtain Picasso painted for “Parade,” with bolder colors almost having to fight their way through what she called the “fine dust that sprinkles stage clothes.”
The designer has put her unabashed feminism at the core of the brand since she took the reins at Dior in 2016.
Previous shows have involved collaborations with women writers, musicians and choreographers.
This time she worked with the female-led British acrobat company Mimbre.
Chiuri said she was struck by how inclusive the circus world was, and how it offered “a possible equality... where beauty, origin, gender and age are no longer important. Only technique and daring matter.”
It was this that inspired the collection’s necklaces and bracelets of interlocking gold hands. An acrobat “puts their life in the hands of another, you have to really trust each other,” she said.
Feminism was the big theme of the day on the Paris catwalks, with Italian actress and #MeToo campaigner Asia Argento taking a starring role in her Roman neighbor Antonio Grimaldi’s spring/summer collection.
She wore an asymmetrically cut white sleeveless dress adorned with ostrich feathers designed to show off her tattoos as a cheeky take on the wedding dresses that traditionally close couture shows.
While Grimaldi praised her courage and “unconventional spirit,” Argento told AFP that she “loved his sculptural couture.”
Few designers anywhere, however, can match the sculptural verve of the Dutch Iris van Herpen, whose gravity-defying creations were the fruit of collaboration with New York artist and former NASA engineer Kim Keever.
Azzaro and Giambatista Valli rounded off the first day of the Paris haute couture shows that follow a week of menswear collections.
Both went with a leggy look, with tight bow mini dresses from Valli — some with parachute sleeves — that he developed out into full ball gowns.
He also topped a series of full-length sheath dresses with fezzes.
Azzaro too toyed with bows in a mostly two-tone black and white riff on the short skirt and the classic “le smoking” dinner jacket.


Hadid sisters mix things up in Milan

Updated 16 June 2019
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Hadid sisters mix things up in Milan

  • The looks play on the fashion house’s iconic bondage moment, mixing the shiny leather with more mundane looks, like blazers and jacket
  • Versace dedicated the show to Keith Flint of the British band The Prodigy, a friend of Versace’s who died earlier this year

DUBAI: Model sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid took to the runway for Italian fashion house Versace in Milan on Saturday, as the label showed off its mix-and-match Spring/Summer 2020 line.

Dontatella Versace has tapped the soul of fashion house founded by her brother, the late Gianni Versace, with animal prints and loud fluorescents, The Associated Press reported.

The looks play on the fashion house’s iconic bondage moment, mixing the shiny leather with more mundane looks, like blazers and jacket. A shimmery leopard men’s top embroidered with Gianni Versace’s signature in silver peeks out of a knit vest, with black trousers and a cross-body bag that embrace femininity. Shimmery leopard prints were paired with slim trousers patterned with ancient vases.

“It is more about the confidence a guy has to express himself in a more flexible way,” said head menswear designer Ashley Fletcher.

The flexibility was clear as models including Gigi, her sister Bella and Irina Shayk exhibited the same looks: Gigi Hadid, for example, wearing a belted leather trench with hardware details over bare legs but with the same blue shirt and tie as the men — who also showed leg with the same look but with Bermuda shorts. Suit coats and jackets for him and her featured half-and-half Prince of Wales plaid and solid black, worn with a suit shirt, tie and black leather lace-up pants.

“I love you forever and ever, @donatella_versace. The queen!” Bella wrote on Instagram after the show.

Racing car motifs symbolized a coming of age and embrace of grown-up toys. The other repeating motif was the Gianni Versace signature, vertically running on ties and socks, AP reported.

“For every young man, the first car has a strong meaning.” Versace said. “It’s independence, maturity, but above all freedom.”

Versace dedicated the show to Keith Flint of the British band The Prodigy, a friend of Versace’s who died earlier this year — some models wore brightly dyed hair in his image, wearing acid-wash denim and tie-dye tops.