Raf Simons’ departure from Dior left me feeling shocked and a little betrayed. Since his very first show for the house, a spring couture display that beautifully combined the nuances of the season with the traditional silhouettes of Dior, I had fallen in love with Simons and the creativity and innovation that he had to offer. But nonetheless, I was still excited by the announcement that Maria Grazia Chiuri, former co-creative director of Valentino, would fill his shoes. But, to my dismay, even after two years, Chiuri has yet to breathe life back into the Parisian fashion house.
One of the most distinct things about Chiuri’s creative direction at Dior is that each of her shows revolve around starkly specific themes. From her 2018 resort show inspired by the Lascaux caves to her spring 2018 couture show inspired by surrealist symbolism, Chiuri’s decision to curate each show to a different time period, art form, social movement, or anything else, is clear to the eye. This decision, however, has only divided the brand and marked a lack of cohesion that is crucial for any label. And yes, each of her shows is inspired by something -- sometimes a little far-fetched -- that is related to Christian Dior himself. But, even so, her inspirations are far too different from each other to carry on the senses of continuity and cohesion that Simons so gracefully conveyed.
Furthermore, the designs that she creates, for the most part, are just boring. The silhouettes of her designs have not yet been new or innovative, and elicit no sense of excitement or emotion. Chiuri pays too much homage to the cinched-waist suit jacket so easily attributed to Dior, and has had difficulty being more innovative than her long and gauzy a-line skirts that have been present in a majority of her collections for the house, and were even present in some of her shows for Valentino.
But don’t get me wrong: I do respect Chiuri. She is the first female creative director that Dior has ever seen, and succeeded in creating the notable “Christian Dior strap” and an entire collection inspired by female empowerment. But, overall, the garments themselves are far less exciting compared to what they were under Simons.
Chiuri’s creative direction at Dior has taken the house in a backwards and less innovative step in which creativity and excitement have been lost. But nonetheless, I am still optimistic for the future of the brand, and perhaps Chiuri should focus less on her extravagant inspirations, and focus more on ensuring the clothing more accurately conveys the creativity that I know she has to offer.
Opinion by: Ellie Grace Kim, Writer at SOUL