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Fashion, at the moment, is obsessed with contexts, or perhaps better with frames, almost as if these, by radiation or simple magic, could give new value to clothes. It is a shortcut to meaning which, on the one hand, satisfies the eyes, on the other it does not satisfy the thought, because it often lacks rigor.
The Dior show yesterday opened the long Parisian fashion week in the name of a rather confusing, and more than anything, confusing polysemy. On the one hand, the violently pop set: video-animations of Elena Bellantoni’s collages that exaggerate the trite and trivial imagery of sexist advertisements to mock it. On the other hand, the feminist fervor of Maria Grazia Chiuri, and the glorification, in words, of the witch, understood as an anti-normative figure, a woman who opposes the schematization of chauvinist culture. Finally, in the centre, the clothes, moreover with the Dior brand and everything that, in terms of culture and society, it can entail – the ladies who wear it seem largely indifferent to all the narrative elaborated on the sidelines; they want clothes and bags, so well made, so luxury, so immediately connoting upper class. And it is on clothes that we will focus. Aside from some evident Pradism, and in observance of a certain ladylike grace that is in the DNA, Chiuri tries new waters: abraded, wrinkled, bruised. Her first look is hourglass as expected, but the white shirt peeks out messily from the black jacket, and it’s not ironed. It is like this from beginning to end: a roughness of almost medieval ancestry that brings a pauperist frisson where the possibility of spending is in truth bottomless. Here then are the jackets with frayed hems, the battered tulle and the general idea of elegance in times of famine. Although well executed, it seems like a stylish staging and nothing more.
The roughness of Vaquera, in comparison, is real, authentically abrasive, because it is rooted in the metropolitan culture of outcasts, as is the pristine tailoring of Peter Do, who for his catwalk debut in Paris decides to break the precision with a liquid sensuality. It is a first step, which requires refinement. Finally, at Saint-Laurent, the grandeur of a Parisian madame gives way to an opacity that is not pauperistic, but pragmatic. The collection is almost entirely made of cotton, in a military range of khaki, rotten green, military green, black. Rediscovering the safari jacket, and what it represents for the maison in terms of rebellious and pacifist spirit, Anthony Vaccarello sets off on a journey of his own and from a substantially warlike aesthetic paraphernalia – overalls, trench coats, aviator caps – he extracts a celebration of beauty and elegance full of pathos. The expression is sharp, but the corners at this turn are rounded. The glamor of the Saint-Laurent woman, thus, acquires a soft pride, a feminine combativeness that she conquers.