Off with their heels! Dior leads footwear revolution

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A model presents a creation by Christian Dior during the Women's Fall-Winter 2019/2020 Haute Couture collection fashion show in Paris. (AFP)
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A model presents a creation by Christian Dior during the Women’s Fall-Winter 2019/2020 Haute Couture collection fashion show in Paris. (AFP)
Updated 06 July 2019
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Off with their heels! Dior leads footwear revolution

  • Proudly feminist designer Maria Grazia Chiuri went full tilt for the liberating power of flats
  • Chiuri, the first woman ever to lead the iconic French house, said the idea was to question what we wear

PARIS: Off with their heels! Dior had fashionistas rocking back on their stilettos Monday by taking footwear down to earth with a bump in its Paris haute couture show.
Citing a famous quote that high heels “were nothing but a modern version of Chinese foot binding,” proudly feminist designer Maria Grazia Chiuri went full tilt for the liberating power of flats.
She took a saw to the tottering stiletto to create black elasticated spartan sandals that almost doubled as tights, giving them “a couture allure that also frees up movement so you can be in contact with nature,” she said.
On a day when women creators dominated the Paris catwalks, the Dutch designer Iris van Herpen also sheared off her heels, cantilevering the stilettos that went with her stunning ethereal creations which are unlike anything else in fashion.
The big innovations in Dior’s almost entirely black autumn winter collection were the gothy thigh-length sandals, punky feathered tights and a series of embroidery dresses that echoed body art at its classiest.
Chiuri, the first woman ever to lead the iconic French house, said the idea was to question what we wear.
Indeed, the opening look — a white classical tunic worn by her muse, the British model Ruth Bell — carried a quotation by social historian and design guru Bernard Rudofsky, “Are clothes modern?”
It was also from the Austrian author of “The Unfashionable Human Body” that Chiuri took her inspiration to cut the heel down to size — wearing the spartan sandals herself — although a few low-flying kitten heels did creep in.
This was perhaps the Italian’s sharpest collection since she became the first woman to head the iconic French house in 2016.
Chiuri took Dior’s New Look classics and gave them a controlled punky elegance for Generation Z, draping every model in black net veils or little fascinator berets by British milliner Stephen Jones.
Dior’s headquarters, a 19th-century mansion not far from the Champs Elysees, was turned into a black-and-white surrealist landscape for the show by the British-born feminist surrealist Penny Slinger.
With “The Handmaiden’s Tale” star Elisabeth Moss sharing the front row with singer Celine Dion and actress Priyanka Chopra, Chiuri upped the feminist vibe with a tribute to the caryatids, the female forms which hold up so much classical and neo-classical architecture, in a series of tunic dresses.
“They have always shouldered the weight of the world,” she said.
In the final look, she hammered home the point again, with a model wearing a gilded maquette of the building as a tribute to the women who work in its studios.
Van Herpen’s breathtaking collection which she called “Hypnosis” was all about lifting us into another realm of lightness.
The gravity-defying genius of her iridescent creations have often been compared to the silvery transparent creatures of the deep.
And this time she outdid herself in what she called “the hypnotic visualization of nature’s tapestry.”
The show was staged around a staggering piece of moving sculpture called “Omniverse” by the American artist Anthony Howe, that echoed the shimmering anemones and squids that her high-tech gowns evoke.
Celine Dion took her place in the front row wearing one of Van Herpen’s earlier creations.
Like everyone else, the Canadian watched goggle-eyed as Van Herpen premiered a new “Hypnosis” technique developed with architect Professor Phillip Beesley, where satin is cut into thousands of exquisite “0.8mm (0.03-inch) waves, with each interlinked and designed to move faster than the eye can follow.”
The show finished with an “Infinity” dress with its own moving mechanism designed along with Howe which mimicked his installation.


Why ‘Gone With the Wind’ eclipses both ‘Avengers’ and ‘Avatar’

Updated 22 July 2019
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Why ‘Gone With the Wind’ eclipses both ‘Avengers’ and ‘Avatar’

  • The $402 million taken in by “Gone with the Wind” after its 1939 release places it in a paltry 285th position in raw dollar terms
  • That compares to $2.7902 billion for “Avengers: Endgame,” which this weekend just squeaked past the “Avatar” total of $2.7897

NEW YORK: Even as Disney confirmed Sunday that “Avengers: Endgame” had become the top-grossing movie ever, film historians noted that “Gone With the Wind” still has a strong case for being the most successful film of all time.
The $402 million taken in by “Gone with the Wind” after its 1939 release places it in a paltry 285th position in raw dollar terms. But that ignores the huge role of price inflation over time.
The epic historic romance, set during and after the US Civil War, sold the enormous 215 million tickets in the United States, far and away the record in that category, according to the Internet Movie Database. It’s box office was boosted by seven national releases between 1939 and 1974.
“Gone with the Wind” would have sold $1.958 billion worth of tickets today in the US market alone, based on what the National Association of Theatre Owners says was an average US ticket price in 2018 of $9.11.
Worldwide, and with inflation taken into account, the film would have taken in a stunning $3.44 billion, the Guinness Book of World Records has estimated.
That compares to $2.7902 billion for “Avengers: Endgame,” which this weekend just squeaked past the “Avatar” total of $2.7897.
Consider also that the US population in 1939 was a mere 130 million, roughly 200 million less than today.
For some, however, the success of the epic film — it runs three hours and 58 minutes — is troubling.
With a story line based on the novel by Margaret Mitchell, some historians see it as one of the most ambitious and successful examples of Southern revisionism.
Immediately after the Civil War (1861-1865), there was a broad push in the US South to cast the formerly slave-holding region in a softer light.
Those purveying the so-called “Lost Cause” ideology insisted that the Southern states had fought not to preserve slavery, but because the North was infringing on their political independence.
Yet in their declarations of secession from the Union, the Southern states were clear about their primary motive: the Northern states’ refusal to extradite escaped slaves and their “increasing hostility... to the institution of slavery,” as South Carolina’s declaration stated.
“Slavery is not even a critical issue in the movie,” said Kathryn Stockett, author of “The Help,” about black maids in the South in the early 1960s.
“You have these African-Americans that are working for these white families, and it’s as if it’s just their job... something they chose to do,” Stockett says in the documentary “Old South, New South.”
For Randy Sparks, a Tulane University history professor, “Gone With the Wind” exemplifies the way Southerners were able to impose their version of events.
“There aren’t many cases in history,” Sparks said, “where the losers write the history.”
It was thanks to “Gone With the Wind” that in 1940 Hattie McDaniel, who plays Scarlett O’Hara’s faithful slave “Mammy,” won the first Oscar awarded to a black actress.
But racial segregation was still deeply rooted in Hollywood, as in many parts of American society, and on Oscar night McDaniel had to sit at a small table in the rear of the famed Cocoanut Grove nightclub in the Ambassador Hotel, far from the film’s big stars, Vivian Leigh and Clark Gable.
Producer David O. Selznick had to intervene personally to secure her a room in the Ambassador, which refused to admit black customers until 1959.