A midsummer garden’s dream Christian Dior Couture S/S 2017
Diala Aschkar, Art Director at Orient Palms, Paris, France & Rana Bou Saada

A midsummer garden’s dream

Christian Dior Couture S/S 2017

In her first couture collection as Dior’s creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri takes a walk down mystical lane and invites us to explore an old forgotten garden. Throughout the journey, we luckily find ourselves in a fairy-tale aristocratic ball, organized by an enigmatic pagan society.

Bemused yet impressed, we contemplate the following 30 looks of seductive witches and young elves. Some highlight their surrealism with trendy tiaras; others emphasize their anonymity with stylish masks. But all of them invest in their makeup, hairdo and accessories to give Spring season a very phantasmagoric welcome party.

First, we stumble into modern descendants of Little red riding hood and Peau d’Âne. In addition to their love for the forest, they also have in common black mysterious hoods: the first is incorporated into the famous Bar jacket, the second into the velvet cape. The Navy color is a beautiful eye-catcher in the second dress.

  • “Esprit de Changement” - Black wool and satin tuxedo-style trouser suit, hooded Bar jacket. Swallow mask in crinoline.
  • “Daphnée” - Black velvet hooded cape, navy and black pleated dress.

Early on, we discover Dior’s beautiful and ambiguous masks. Although it is inspired from earth’s natural elements, it reflects a dark, out of this world impression.

Carrying on with the supernatural feel, Chiuri reproduces tarot and astrological signs on these taffeta dresses, in what may be considered a fashionable tribute to Mr. Dior’s superstitious side. Another mythological sign can be found amongst the tarot motifs: the tree of life.

  • “Tarot” - Ecru silk taffeta dress with hand-painted and embroidered tarot motifs. (1400 hours of work.) Tiara in feathers.
  • “Constellations” - Black velvet and ecru taffeta ball gown, hand-painted and embroidered with astrological motifs. (1700 hours of work.)

Contrary to the rest of the collection, these dresses are extremely vivid, lively and contemporary: particularly with the Matelassé fabric of the red one (usually used for sportswear) and the asymmetric collar of the green one. The coat-dress fits well the natural set, as its folds reminds us of Spring leaves.

  • “Baiser rouge” - Dior red silk satin quilted dress. Tiara in feathers.
  • “Jardin baroque” - Spring green sunray-pleated wool crêpe coat dress with asymmetric collar.

From the aristocratic countryside, comes the ultimate fresh delegate of Spring. After 1900 hours of work, Spring spirit has been captured in the raffia’s palm trees material, the plants motifs and the flowers and corn crown.

“Essence d’Herbier” - Ecru fringe cocktail dress, floral raffia and thread embroidery derived from a Monsieur Dior original. (1900 hours of work.) Hedgerow headdress in silk flowers and corn.

With her pastel flowers crown and four-leaf clover embroidery, this ethereal elf is the lucky charm of the forest world! The almond green transparency and falling straps are a girly ingénue touch.

  • “Tyche” - Almond green silk tulle dress sprinkled with four-leaf clover embroidery. Diorissimo bouquet in silk flowers.

Straps keep on falling to secure the ingénue feel, but each in a unique way. The first dress is sprinkled with gold and has an undefined golden and bronze color. The second is adorned with a herbarium of red flowers, making it romantically melancholic.

  • “Solstice d’Été” - Embroidery-sprinkled tulle bustier dress. (1600 hours of work.) Constellation crown in rose gold.
  • “Mémoire d’Été” - Sage, cactus and olive green dégradé layered tulle dress with herbal-inspired poppy embroidery. Angry dragonfly.

The black feathers crown tied with a side ribbon announces a witchy feel. However, this is not your usual witch… Elegant and simple, her black dress beautifully highlights her bosom. She contrasts femininity and originality, with her fine strap on one shoulder and her knotted feathered bandeau on the other.

  • “Délicatesse Nocturne” - Black chiffon and point d’esprit sunray-pleated dress, pleated panels knotted at the shoulders. Feathered bandeau in cotton gauze.

Innocent witches are real: they wear black dresses with fine straps… at least, these models do! Natural elements are mixed with witchy ones: black feathers, blackberries thorns and feathery stars. The second gown is covered with lily-of-the-valley flowers, with a nude color magically subdued within the black tulle.

  • “Roncier de Mûres” - Black and soft pink ball gown, late-summer embroidery with blackberries and small feathered stars. Tiara in feathers.
  • “Hymne aux Muguets” - Black point d’esprit and nude tulle bustier dress sprinkled with black lily-of-the-valley sprigs.

Rebellious yet innocent, this model celebrates Winter rather than Spring. She might be the supernatural Winter fairy, with her frozen tree crown, icy pastel color and “frosty” motifs.

  • “Souvenir d’Hiver” - Icy pastel dégradé tulle dress embroidered with winter symbols. Frozen tree fashioned from ostrich spines.

Witches invent magic potions; Chiuri invents magic colors. A black point d’esprit tones down an antique rose tulle, creating a mauve dress. A similar layering yields a brown color, due to the salmon tulle. Both are adorned with pale flowers.

  • “Coré” - Dress in black point d’esprit over antique rose tulle, silky pansy herbal-inspired embroidery.
  • “Sommeil des Fleurs” - Black point d’esprit over salmon pink tulle ball gown, herbal-inspired silk wild rose embroidery. Profile feather headdress.

A closer look at the second model reveals her elaborate accessories: two miniature stars on the inside corners of her eyes echo her hair’s color. She definitely belongs to the magical forest with her black feather crown and rose and ivory flowers’ necklace.

A unique tribal woman wears her golden feather totem and lamé dress. Once again, colors are mixed, as gold is subdued by a layer of black tulle.

“Éclair d’Or” - Pleated gold lamé dress veiled in black. Golden feather totem.

A Spring butterfly look-alike is what best describes this model. If her pleated dress and herbal embroideries do not convince you of her romantic superpowers, her light colors and flower crown will. The colorful crown and bold necklace (with a similar motif) add liveliness to the dreamy look.

  • “Brise de mémoires” - Sand-colored pleated tulle dress with spring-themed herbal-inspired embroidery. Fête Champêtre garland in silk flowers raffia & bees.

Flowers and pastel colors distinguish another look: with her flounced skirt and pink buster, this fairy is simply otherworldly.

“Labyrinthe de Fleurs” - Soft pink flounced tulle bustier dress, herbal-inspired old rose embroidery.

Blown by a cool autumnal breeze, the below lady unexpectedly arrives to our Spring ball! She carries with her various autumnal and natural symbols, such as gradient tulle of coral and peach, dead leaves crown and embroideries; and even a dragonfly-like necklace.

  • “Souvenir d’Automne” - Coral dégradé tulle cowl-neck ball gown embroidered with autumnal symbols. Hurricane of tulle leaves.

Chiuri experiments once again with colors and the result is mesmerizing: a nude fabric covered by a gradient tulle of navy to sky blue. The majestic ombré feathers tiara gives the model a proud peacock appearance, while the plissé dress and falling straps highlight her femininity.

“Après le déluge” - Navy to sky blue dégradé tulle bustier dress, Grand Bal embroidered straps. Tiara in ombré feathers.

At last, we understand that our mysterious forest is the Garden of Eden, an Impressionist painting of a garden, where the tempting snake contrasts with the scattered feathers drawing flowers motifs and reflecting youthful innocence.

  • “Jardin Fleuri” - Sage green tulle bustier dress with Impressionist garden-effect feather embroidery. (2200 hours of work.) Herbacious fontange in silk flowers.