The world of haute couture is personified in detail. Each and every shimmer, flounce, and layer is notably the hard work of the human hand. To unveil such meticulous craft, there must be some type of show—a celebration of a fashion show, at the least, to salute such beauty. For Spring/Summer 2019, Dior memorialized its newest haute couture collection with a celebratory show indeed, presented in a Bureau Betak-designed yellow and white striped circus tent adorned with a twinkle of strung lights.
From the outside in, guests followed the glimmer of the lights to the glamour of the set. Positioned in a theater-in-the-round setting, long plush pastel seats complemented a pastel checkered floor. Aiding to the set, the collection’s notes painted the perfect introductory storyline for the fashion that followed.
Before the looks trickled by, we were reminded of their influences—Christian Dior loved the circus, traveling to Cirque d’Hiver for its magical flare. In 1950, these references appeared at the house’s show in London, and again under John Galliano’s creative direction. So for Spring/Summer 2019, designer Maria Grazia Chiuri revisits the circus splendor with a new focus on the memory and imagination of its fantastical costumes.
A true mix between fashion and art, each piece in the collection seemed to float by. Outlined by a dotted runway of acrobats from the all-female circus company Mimbre, who stood on each other’s shoulders to epitomize trust and technique, models made their way in frays, ruffles, and ribbons. Embroidery and proportion were two important facets of the collection, as many fluid and light pieces evoked a comfortable place for inclusion and expression, regardless of gender or age.
A strong color palette of black, white, and red was seen guiding other colors along, bold with flouncy capes, head caps with tight face veils, leather corsets, and lion tamer-like black jackets. A sheer white top with a large flowering collar was paired with fitted black trousers; a checkered pastel dress mirrored the plush elegance of its surrounding, tied off with a frayed black ribbon around the neck; and new sparkling shoes—double-strapped in a cross-cross closure, laced-up, and side-zipped—came in the form of boots, flats, and low Mary Janes.
There were several obvious clown-inspired details, too, like the black and red spade and triangle shapes and the faint black eyeliner pointed at the center of the eye. But the reimagined, refined, and extravagant details in the dresses and accessories were worldly takes on timeless circus classics, and that was the haute couture ode to the fashion circus we have been waiting for.