Maria Grazia Chiuri is the first woman to hold the creative reins at the French House as she presents her first collection with Christian Dior Spring 2017 runway show. Her boldly feminine outlook – feminist is a recurring word for her – explores the rules of modern beauty to transpose them into a collection shaped by the sensual tension that exists between the body and clothing. Christian Dior’s New Look challenged notions of dress with modernity and rigor, giving back to women the curves and refinement that the war had erased; with fashion that was revolutionary for the time. Maria Grazia Chiuri explores the form and shape of a silhouette that’s contemporary, agile and Olympian; exhibiting an elite sporting elegance, while remaining within each woman’s reach. For a uniform this is both a unique and serial element.

“I strive to be attentive and open to the world and to create fashion that resembles the women of today,” says Maria Grazia Chiuri, Artistic Director of the Dior haute couture, women’s ready-to-wear and accessories collections. “Fashion that corresponds to their changing needs, freed from the stereotypical categories of “masculine/feminine”, “young/not so young”, “reason/emotion”, which nonetheless also happen to be complementary aspects. Fencing is a discipline in which the balance between thought and action, the harmony between mind and heart are essential.”

Fascinated by the house’s intimate and artisanal aspect, she has experimented with different materials in novel constructions and combinations. Through decontextualized forms injected with movement, she invents a dialogue between signs and gestures: the unoppressive corset that with lightness and lightly-worn irony expresses the desire to look and to appeal; the liberated glimpse of a technical and graphic undergarment that caresses the bust’s curves, its elastic adorned with brand-referencing puns, turning it into a kind of gothic and retro rap to the beat of “j’adior”. Ready-to-wear that embraces streetwear influences and techno materials, as well as that magical, dreamy, almost divinatory dimension. A wealth of tarot figures cleverly transposed into different milieux suggest interpretations of the future.

Materials include cotton, which come in blue, white and black. And Christian Dior’s beloved red, in addition to gray and pink. Denim acts as a connective element. Tulle, silk chiffon and georgette are cut into maxi skirts whose varying lengths reflect a woman’s varying desires.

Go backstage at the Christian Dior Spring 2017 runway show as the fashion house sees a new wave of female empowerment.