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Dior Fall 2024 Couture Runway, Fashion Show & Collection Review: Going for Gold

As Paris gears up to host the Olympic Games, the city’s museums have staged a series of exhibitions highlighting the relationship between fashion and sport.

One show at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs last year showed how the invention of the bicycle revolutionized the way women dress, with the tipping point arriving in the 1920s, when designers including Jean Patou, Jeanne Lanvin, Elsa Schiaparelli and Gabrielle Chanel introduced sportswear.

It’s a theme Maria Grazia Chiuri has been obsessed with since her fencing-themed debut show for Dior in 2016, but until now she’s only explored it in ready-to-wear. “This idea of the relationship between the body, clothes and performance is part of my work, also with dance,” she said in a preview.

For her cruise 2022 show, unveiled at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens three years ago, she offered updated versions of the peplos, the robe traditionally worn by women in ancient Greece, with athleisure staples and futuristic sneakers. What would that look like in a couture setting, she wondered?

The designer has not been afraid to gradually strip her high-end collections of embroidery and embellishment, at the risk of disappointing observers who look to Paris Couture Week for frothy princess gowns and extravagant trains.

This season, she pushed the concept further by introducing fabrics like jersey and shapes like tank tops into the mix. She used the singlets as underpinning for her loosely draped goddess gowns, adding mosaic embroidery for a glammed-up evening twist.

A sheer crystal-embellished tank top with a white rib trim was paired with a gathered ecru silk jersey skirt, but there was also a striped bodysuit version that looked stadium-ready with mesh gladiator sandals.

With dewy skin and slicked-back hair, models paraded in front of a series of sports-themed mosaics based on the work of U.S. artist Faith Ringgold, who died in April at the age of 93 before she could see the collaboration come to fruition.

Chiuri ordinarily hews close to the heritage of founder Christian Dior, but there was hardly a nod to the archives in this lineup, which instead brought to mind the exacting approach of Madame Grès. Behind their apparent simplicity, Chiuri’s choice of fabrics — crushed velvet, lamé or metallic jersey — were the stuff of ateliers’ nightmares.

The designer said she was inspired by ancient Roman mosaics that show women wearing the precursor of the bikini and carrying hand weights. She also looked to the Paris Olympics exactly one century ago, and the way athletes like Alice Milliat campaigned for women’s right to compete at the top level.

Dior and Louis Vuitton are among the brands that will contribute looks to the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic and Paralympic Games as part of parent company LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s sponsorship of the sporting event, Paris 2024 organizers said Monday.

Dior has named 18 athletes as brand ambassadors, including five-time Olympic gold medalist Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica, the fastest woman alive, and Paralympic fencer Beatrice “Bebe” Vio Grandis, who appeared in the campaign for its Lady 95.22 handbag last year.

Chiuri said she was inspired by the way young female athletes are reclaiming their bodies.

“This new generation is completely different from the past. They are more conscious. They don’t believe in the idea of the uniform to make a sport,” she said, noting that athletes are increasingly keen to express their personalities through makeup and hair. “The women introduce more freedom in the sport.”

Though sworn to secrecy, she appeared to be warming up for the bigger Olympics stage with looks like draped metallic jersey dresses in gold, silver and bronze, and a bodysuit embroidered with gold feathers that was the embodiment of “Winged Victory.” After all, they say winning is an attitude.

For more couture fall 2024 reviews, click here.

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