Dior’s Paris Fashion Week show sent a loud environmental action message 

Paris Fashion Week began in earnest with Dior’s Spring 2020 show.

Catwalk attendees bewildered by the location traipsed through an underpass and sandy footpaths (which were not a good mix with black suede boots but fine if your footwear adhered to this season’s major movement of the beige aesthetic) to a wooden clad cube.

Maria Grazia Chiuri, creative director of Dior since 2016 and the first woman to head up the house, always makes a statement with her shows. Whether that’s putting the words of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie onto t-shirts (“We should all be feminists”) or asking “Why have there been no great women artists” and reminding us that “Sisterhood is powerful.” Today it was a more peaceful protest with none of the slogan t-shirts that have become waitlist worthy items, but there was just as urgent a message.

Inspired in part by Christian Dior’s sister, Catherine, the original Miss Dior, and her role as a gardener both literally and figuratively, Chiuri translated the crisis of our current ecological situation through the medium of fashion. Through her treescape, Chiuri created an “inclusive garden” and the diversity of skin tones on the catwalk, which – duh – reflects real life, still stands out in the fashion landscape for it’s inclusivity in an age of colour blindness.

The natural mood segued from the set to the clothes… burlap short suits and rompers in jute brown (which made a divine contrast with cornflower blue cotton shirting); jaunty straw hats, perfect for keeping the sun off your face after a morning in the allotment; a floor sweeping raffia gown that caught the light and shimmered as much as any silk; grey washed denim in worker-style jackets and slouchy wide leg jeans; a selection of tie-dye rainbow pieces… And then? A cavalcade of gowns embroidered with floral motifs – the most beautiful of which was a dandelion clock atop miniature flowers, all ready to sprinkle their seeds.

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