New season, new designers. The first woman at Christian Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri. Alber Elbaz’s replacement, Bouchra Jarrar. And Donatella Versace’s leading man at Versus Versace, Anthony Vaccarello, now at Saint Laurent.
There is a fashion revolution-slash-evolution happening; high fashion has turned into a literal Net-a-Porter with express delivery (See Now, Buy Now) and the hop-and-drop of designers. Lasting less than a decade at a house has become a trend: Raf Simons, Stefano Pilati, Massimiliano Giornetti and Alexander Wang.
Ain’t Saint Laurent without Yves was the approach at Vaccarello’s first tenure at the Parisian house. Leather, velvet, denim, lace, sequins, lame and the Le Smoking; the Italian-Belgian designer created a collaborative compilation of Yves Saint Laurent’s work and all of those who came after, especially Hedi Slimane.
The collection was nothing but a continuity of his own DNA aesthetic from his Autumn/Winter 16 ready-to-wear collection at Versus Versace: going from camo to animal print; there is a rich admiration for nature and women that Vaccarello and Yves (Yves Saint Laurent in a leopard tie and Catherine Deneuve in a leopard dress sitting on a sofa) share — a steady first step. The revival of the YSL logo was the running style from brooches, temporary-crystal-tattoos on skin to the actual stilettos.
The birth of a new messiah at Dior: Chiuri is here. The LVMH brand known for its theatrics in the heydays of John Galliano took a step back to sub-zero in 2012 when Raf Simons entered as creative director and stripped the house off its fairy-tale like sets. Simons brought in an architectural sound deriving from DNA house pieces like the bar jacket and le pouf; gradually becoming softer like the millions of flowers used in his sets — leaving the house in a yielding position for the next designer. And nobody understands femininity like Chiuri, whom previously served as creative director of Valentino with Pierpaolo Piccioli.
Chiuri has weaved together the motif of the dancer from her Valentino days and a fencer (in the events of the recent Olympics) for her debut at Dior. As the year of the logo t-shirts sweeping the runways, it is only right that Chiuri has revived the J’adore Dior 8 t-shirt with other political messages on them: WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS and DIO(R)EVOLUTION; the iconic slogan also went to becoming key bra-skirt-straps. Swan like tulle skirts and dresses with zodiacal embroideries, leather quilted jumpers, jackets and vests, Stormtrooper fencing boots — Chiuri is fighting the war on terror.
Jarrar has been at the helm of womenswear all her life — from Balenciaga to Christian Lacroix to her own eponymous label. Jeanne Lanvin on the other hand went from menswear to sportswear then to womenswear; Jarrar’s referenced a tribute to Jeanne Lanvin (whom started from menswear to sportswear then to womenswear): long silk pyjamas, sleeveless striped blazers and pinstriped shorts — high fashion sportswear made for the likes of Edith Cummings and Patty Berg, historical golfing icons.
Her personal style also came through — reminiscent of Tom Ford at Gucci with a twist: “women who love, and women who love to be loved,” telling Business of Fashion.