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

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.


Australian man survives croc attack by gouging its eye

Updated 16 November 2019

Australian man survives croc attack by gouging its eye

  • Wildlife ranger Craig Dickmann made a split-second decision to go fishing in a remote part of Northern Australia known as ‘croc country.’
  • ‘That noise will haunt me forever I think, the sound of the snap of its jaws’

CAIRNS, Australia: An Australian wildlife ranger has recounted his terrifying escape from the clutches of a “particularly cunning” crocodile, after wrestling with the reptile and sticking a finger in its eye.
Craig Dickmann, who made a split-second decision to go fishing last Sunday in a remote part of Northern Australia known as “croc country” last Sunday, said a 2.8-meter (nine-foot) crocodile came up from behind him as he was leaving the beach.
“As I’ve turned to go, the first thing I see is its head just come at me,” he told reporters on Friday from his hospital bed in the town of Cairns in Queensland state.
Dickmann said the animal latched on to his thigh.
“That noise will haunt me forever I think, the sound of the snap of its jaws,” he said.
The 54-year-old said he wrestled with the croc on the remote beach as it tried to drag him into the water.
Dickmann stuck his thumb into its eye, saying it was the only “soft spot” he found on the “bullet-proof” animal.
“Their eyes retract a fair way and when you go down far enough you can feel bone so I pushed as far as I possibly could and then it let go at that point,” Dickmann said.
After a few minutes, he said he managed to get on top of the croc and pin its jaws shut.
“And then, I think both the croc and I had a moment where we’re going, ‘well, what do we do now?’”
Dickmann said he then pushed the croc away from him and it slid back into the water.
The ranger had skin ripped from his hands and legs in the ordeal and drove more than 45 minutes back to his home before calling emergency services.
It was then another hour in the car to meet the Royal Flying Doctors Service who flew him to Cairns Hospital, where he is recovering from the ordeal.
“This croc was particularly cunning and particularly devious,” he said.
Queensland’s department of environment this week euthanized the animal.
“The area is known croc country and people in the area are reminded to always be crocwise,” the department said in a statement.
Saltwater crocodiles, which can grow up to seven meters long and weigh more than a ton, are common in the vast continent’s tropical north.
Their numbers have exploded since they were declared a protected species in the 1970s, with attacks on humans rare.
According to the state government, the last non-fatal attack was in January 2018 in the Torres Strait while the last death was in October 2017 in Port Douglas.