Fashion returns to the catwalks as Dior takes over the old stadium in Athens | Dior


The 2,000-year-old Panathenaic Stadium in Athens may have held 70,000 marble seats for the first modern Olympics in 1896. So there was plenty of front row space for the Dior Parade at the site this week, where the guest list was capped at 400.

Although most buyers, publishers and international customers watch from home on their laptops, the Dior Cruise collection has been a successful live event. The brand made a point of emphasizing that the old stadium was a responsible choice, well ventilated and spacious. It was also unmistakably grandiose, especially when it was backlit by fireworks and punctuated by a full orchestra. A predominantly Greek and Italian audience was joined by Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and actress Anya Taylor-Joy.

The catwalk remains the most powerful fashion lever for generating attention and prestige. For luxury brands seeing their profits dwindle – and watching with envy as cult leggings brand Lululemon reports 88% revenue growth in the first quarter of this year – there is a strong business case to maintain the podium. desire.

But there is more at stake here than the profits of luxury brands and the egos of designers. The catwalks are symbolic of the identity of fashion as a creative art and as a business. They give fashion a voice in broader conversations. With this in mind, Kerby Jean-Raymond, the first black American designer to parade in Paris haute couture, will next month broadcast his Pyer Moss show live from Villa Lewaro, the elegant Hudson River estate built by Madame CJ Walker, African American. entrepreneur who was the first self-made female millionaire in the United States.

Now designers are going all out to turn hearts and minds away from sneakers and drawstrings at the waist and back to dressing. Dior’s spectacular Athens is just one of the many fashion blockbusters to come. Earlier this week, Louis Vuitton organized and filmed a space tourism-themed parade outside of Paris without an audience. Max Mara is parading on the Italian island of Ischia next week, while Valentino and Saint Laurent have announced parades in Venice in July.

For the creator of Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri, each catwalk collection is “an immense workshop of research and imagination. For a creative person, it’s a great thing to do, an opportunity to collaborate ”.

Chiuri used the Athens fashion show to explore how the relationship between a prestigious Parisian fashion house and the global cultures and traditions that appear as benchmarks on its catwalk has evolved. In 1951, a famous series of photographs by photographer Jean-Pierre Pedrazzini showed models in Christian Dior ball gowns posing in front of the sculpted female figures of the Acropolis Caryatids, reflecting their graceful poses. Seventy years later, Chiuri is aware that a French fashion house using an ancient Greek monument as a simple stage prop for her latest figure wouldn’t fly with modern sensibilities.

“As a designer, if you are careless you diminish beauty and culture so that it becomes a cliché,” she said. “This is what we are trying to avoid – we were very focused on what is contemporary with Greece now.” The collection featured on this catwalk will provide work for Greek fashion companies, with houndstooth pieces woven at the Silk Line, a factory in East Macedonia that uses traditional Greek jacquard techniques. The Greek fisherman’s caps on the podium were made by Atelier Tsalavoutas, which has been making them since the 19th century. In a statement, the Dior house underlined its respect for the emblematic place, where it “worked hand in hand with Greek archaeologists to ensure the complete and unconditional preservation of the site”.

Traveling is a fantasy for most people right now – but billionaires have had a very different experience of the pandemic. On July 20, the inaugural 11-minute manned flight of Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket will usher in the era of space tourism. If that’s a hit, the 1% will soon need a new vacation wardrobe.

Thus, for the last Louis Vuitton show, the creative director of the house, Nicolas Ghesquière, always passionate about space travel, created the ultimate capsule wardrobe of the new season: a space capsule wardrobe. Images of an escalator to a planet, surfers on a moonlit beach, and a motel parking lot in an alien landscape were adorned with padded spacesuit pants, futuristic Courrèges-style flat boots, and egg-shaped silhouettes. defying gravity. “It’s a fantasy come true, now that it has turned into a competition between titans,” Ghesquière said on a video call after the show was broadcast live, which was filmed without a physical audience. . The designer can’t wait to take a trip himself. (“But not the first flight. I’m not that brave.”)

Nicolas Ghesquière of Louis Vuitton has created a “space” capsule collection inspired by the imminent era of space tourism. Photography: LV PR

The allure of space has always been a metaphor for adventure. This show was as much about the millions of people languishing for a few days on a beach as it was about what to pack for a Blue Origin flight. Think parachute silk summer dresses, chunky flat sandals, and miniature suitcases turned into handbags. The show was shot on the Ax Majeur, an artistic installation on the outskirts of Paris which takes the form of a futuristic architectural landscaped garden. With its large scale, modernist colors and airy urban minimalism, the place shares an aesthetic with previous Louis Vuitton exhibition venues such as the Miho Museum in Japan and the Niterói Museum in Brazil. “We all run out of places we can’t go, but sometimes the exotic isn’t that far,” Ghesquière said.

“A beautiful show is a celebration that gives fashion the visibility it deserves,” he added. He hopes to return to a public podium in October. “But I also want to be an agent of change now.” Ghesquière intends to keep “the 2020 spirit” by reducing fabric orders, reducing prototypes, and not overproducing collections. “These are small decisions that we make every day and make sure we continue in the right direction, rather than always thinking about expansion.”

Lockdown dress codes made their mark on the Dior runway in chunky white sneakers and logo-stamped athletic socks that were worn with flowing white goddess dresses. “After the pandemic, everyone wants to feel able to move,” Chiuri said.

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