An exhibition of artistry, the Dior Spring collection is a fiery force of freedom

The verdant gardens of the Musée Rodin in Paris were the setting for the Christian Dior Spring 2018 ready-to-wear show, with the looks designed by Maria Grazia Chiuri walking a runway inside a specially-built monumental structure. The setting inspired by the work of the artist Niki de Saint Phalle.

During her research in the Dior archives, Maria Grazia Chiuri had her interest piqued by a series of photographs of Niki de Saint Phalle. Embodying the beauty of her time, more adolescent than androgynous, small and fiery, she exhibits a style of dressing that’s both iconic and personal, and current in its proportions and whimsy. At the time of the liberation of women, Niki de Saint Phalle threw herself into a close relationship with art, the world and herself. And it is this feminine creativity that speaks to the designer.

Polka dots, a motif of which Niki de Saint Phalle was especially fond, ran throughout the ready-to-wear Spring 2018 collection, whether in black and white or red and black on blouses and vaporous dresses, and as the dotted tulle used for skirts and evening dresses.

Among the elements culled from the 1960s and 1970s wardrobe, Chiuri revisited an especially emblematic element in her ready-to-wear spring-summer 2018 collection: denim. Featuring in several of the collection’s looks, as pants, jackets or skirts, it mined a vintage vein with its flaring cuts and patchwork effects, while exhibiting a resolutely Dior mastery of detail, embroidered with motifs from the work of Niki de Saint Phalle.

This collection, inspired by the artist, also makes reference to Marc Bohan, and his little dresses and jumpsuits, sometimes teamed with full skirts opening at the front. There are also large polka dots, black and white checks, trousers worn with ordinary or safari jackets, and teamed, according to mood, with men ‘s shirts featuring fine stripes or polka dots, or of a romantic white: all borrowings from the vocabulary of Marc Bohan. Finally, the collection’s atmosphere and references, whether explicit or implicit, lead us into the heady turbulence of the 1960s, illustrative of the changing forces of these female universes. They change not only fashion, but the contemporary world, too.

In an exclusive interview, the Artistic Director shares her thoughts on Niki de Saint Phalle, and discusses how she revisited the artist’s life and work in her Spring collection.