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Dior: Behind the Success

While Critics Criticise, The Dior-Girl Nation is Constantly Growing On a Par With Sales and Instagram Likes. So, What Stands Behind of Such Outstanding Success?

At the end of the ‘10s the boundaries and expectations of beauty, the way we should look like within a decent society, and how people would react to us and our appearance, has already blurred. No, already died out. While the top of the fashion Olympus is ruled by Gucci, Balenciaga, Gosha Rubchiskiy and a new-comer of the must-have pieces we already crave for thank to Virgil Abloh, we refuse to approach beauty in the way of its common sense people got used to describing something that is aesthetically pleasing for them. But the core is – the beauty is a subjective phenomenon, for each of us it has its own sense: some of us will find a fully tattooed body and a piercing all over the face as an appropriate representation of the ideal beauty, meanwhile someone is totally addicted to Barbie-doll style dreaming of having the bubblegum-pink wardrobe and bleached blonde hair. And it isn’t already important to have the real reason why we refuse to be and look beautiful in the most common sense of this definition praised in the past decade and in the ‘90s: whether it’s a practicality, an aspiration to stand out in a crowd or, on the contrary, to merge with the crowd and become imperceptible, to shock others, or demonstrate your own rebellious spirit. The fashion as we all know it now is already in the edge of extinction for those who are about to set their own rules.But nothing is eternal, especially in fashion, where nothing is eternal except the changes happing every time, every day and every second. Trends come and go, die and revive like a Phoenix after long-term oblivion, something is in return after three seasons of laying on the shelf of we call «trash», becoming a «hot» top-pick of fashion editors and influencers all around the world. The same things are also applied to high-end and couture brands (do we remember how Schiaparelli came to life again and how Roberto Cavalli losing its ground now?).

The autumn-winter ready-to-wear Fashion Weeks’ reports reveal a surprising statistic highlighting Christian Dior as a total winner by the quantity of the references and mentions on social media, outrunning its everlasting rival in the face of Chanel. Chanel which has lost his abiding creative director, Karl Lagerfeld, tend to expect a higher interest and stir because we all know how fashion society might be struck by leaving of every highly influential designer – no matter whether to another world or to another company that provokes a splash of sales towards vertical direction. Something similar had to happen to Alexander McQueen after his tragical death, to Raf Simons after him leaving Jil Sander, to Phoebe Philo when left her creative director position in Céline that caused depression of all loyal brand’s fans, and to Alber Elbaz when Lanvin shamefully terminated the contract with him. And the brand – significant and well-recognised in the fashion industry, but less disputed and not giving any loud motive to be disputed – now is a number one leader of the wave, forging ahead with one and only statement assertion «We should all be feminists». Instagram is fulfilled with photos of the rethought Dior saddle-bag that became a comprehensive must-have within fashion bloggers, influencers and A-list celebrities, top-models and Hollywood stars wearing plain white t-shirts with a statement previously described, while the army of Dior-girls is constantly growing despite the sceptical notion of fashion critics.

Maria Grazia Chiuri, an Italian-born designer, former Valentino creative director on a par with Pierpaolo Piccioli, joined a Christian Dior team in 2016 – the next year after Alessandro Michele took the helm in Gucci and Demna Gvasalia took over Balenciaga. She became the first female creative director of the whole Christian Dior history, but despite all the hype over this issues that was intended to become a sign of the continuously growing generation of the emancipated women and the battle against harassment, it didn’t lead to the expected results, no matter how many statement t-shirts have been launched and how popular it became. It was impossible to beat a classic, beyond time and trends Chanel, impossible to overcome a theatrical yet hallucinatory performance of Alessandro Michele, impossible to cover up grotesque, impudent designs of Demna Gvasalia. There’s nothing innovative ever happened during all the time Chiuri has been spent in Dior – there’s nothing remarkable, rebellious, out of mind, there are too much of banality – but beautiful banality – too monotonous, too sweet and precious, there too much «too».

Maria Grazia Chiuri

«The revolution is demanded by our hearts» – this slogan is definitely not about Dior’s latest era, except this «revolutionary» insta-worthy t-shirt that led almost to nothing but a major income from sales. There is no evolution likewise: some variations on the classic Dior Bar Jacket, new-look styled skirts, dresses made of tule, and delicate hand-made embroidery transformed into a tangible fairytale fantasy that brings us back to times when Chiuri ruled Valentino – that’s all what we usually might see from collection to collection. Beautiful, princess-like, lovely – but even a fairy-tale needs to have its development otherwise the main characters are risked to get bored. Every inspiration is taken from ballet dancers, a romance of travelling circus, fencers, riders, Greece goddesses, but Chiuri tends to follow a safe way of the time-tested borders instead of competing with future-breakers Michele and Gvasalia who – honestly – she can’t even compete with but, at least, could try to.

And the question is obscenely clear and simple: how this happened? How Dior which always has been following a trodden path appeared to become a treasure all fashionista are craving for?

Dior, Spring-Summer 2019, Couture

The answer might be found in the question itself that we can’t notice at the first glance, but if we dive deeper we may quite clearly reveal how obvious it is in connection with the latest tendencies. When we all try to move away from our nature in the aesthetic experiments of breaking forms and proportions, exaggerating with designs and embellishments, and becoming apathetic to the way we dress and look; the thirst for coming back to the undeniable and harmonic standards of beauty we already forgot about, is rapidly increasing. Maria Grazia Chiuri is ready to suggest what we start craving for in this mad fashion trends. As we remember fashion history and Dior history in general, the brand’s DNA didn’t include a vast range of iconic items swept through times and generations – a typical new-look consisted in the Bar Jacket and fluffy midi-skirt compared to Chanel that dressed up the whole world in her tweed suits, little black dress, man’s jacket on the fragile women’s shoulders, highlighted with a pearl string and iconic bags. But no matter how small the «product» range Dior possess, it became a crucial – read – significant meaning for women of the past century from the end of the 1940s till the middle of the 1960’s: when the post-war clothes was destined to become a manifest of femininity that found its incarnation in Dior’s creations.

And what do we have today? We live in times when Instagram is prevalent over books when we prefer to watch YouTube bloggers instead of reading articles when we tend to gain any single like by any chance, the new concept of beauty is progressively evolving, and this is what we all needed under the normcore regimen. It’s unexpected, but the thin waist, slim and long legs, light skirts and romantic blouses underlined with a delicate belt are the best likes-gatherers we couldn’t even imagine. Lost under layers of fabrics and textures, dressed in oversized coats, free size hoodies and baggy trousers made us forget the way our bodies really look, how beautiful it may be, and how graceful it is when we aren’t hidden under the thickness of frills and colourful prints. By creating the ballet-inspired collection, Chiuri wanted to remind us of the refinement of body translated onto her aerial Greece styles dresses made of the traditional-to-be beige tule, fitted jackets, graceful mid-length skirts mixed with a tiny amount of denim, khaki and fabulously fascinating embroidery and floral prints. There is nothing of revolutionary or innovative – a pure classic, but the most sophisticated one we can be blessed with.

And while we discuss how meaningful for a current fashion state of affairs Maria Grazia Chiuri’s establishments are, there is another one Dior saddle-bag sold-out to a happy grown-up girl who craved for this bag her mom wore since the age of 5. Compared to Chanel whose variety of bags may strike your imagination, Christian Dior didn’t leave us even a clue on how the perfect Dior-bag should be like. The first who filled up the gap in the major accessory omission was Gianfranco Ferre, and his successor John Galliano, when they all were at the positions of the creative directors of Christian Dior – both in different times, certainly. The iconic «Lady Dior» bag – that became a constant participator of the short-list of the covet bags – created by Ferre in the middle of the ‘90s was successfully ventured by Raf Simons, meanwhile, the John Galliano’s heritage found its way out after oblivion only in autumn 2018. At the right time in the right place – the success of the ‘00s Galliano’s saddle-bag burst into a grandiose success thanks to a woman who already knew what a modern girl needs.

And it’s better to trust the first woman in Dior, isn’t it?