PARIS (Reuters) - Christian Dior paid homage to the youth movements of the 1960s on Tuesday with an explosion of color on the catwalk, as models in baker boy caps and vibrant patchwork designs walked through a set clad in slogans and ripped posters.
The show, on the first full day of Paris Fashion Week, was the latest offering by Dior designer Maria Grazia Chiuri, who has rejuvenated the storied label’s look since 2016 and infused her collections with tributes to feminists and social change.
The student protests that rocked Paris in 1968, heralding a shift in a still-rigid French society, inspired the collection on Tuesday, which channeled the “urgency and creativity” of that year, Dior said.
Intricate embroidered outfits adorned with flowers mingled with biker boots on the runway, while some chunky knitted sweaters bore messages, including one with a peace sign.
The star of the show was patchwork, however, with versions in denim and others in bold colors transforming jackets, dresses and even boots - in a motif which according to Chiuri also had a personal resonance.
“That’s part of my heritage. I come from Italy, part of my family came from southern Italy, that’s in my tradition. My grandmother made it,” Chiuri told journalists after the show.
She added that the collection evoked young generations that change “our point of view about sexuality, about women, about men”.
Dior, owned by LVMH, is in the midst of a management shift as Pietro Beccari, formerly of stablemate Fendi, takes the reigns as chief executive.
Beccari, who replaced long-serving Dior CEO Sidney Toledano in recent weeks, said it was too early to give any indications about his plans for the label, and praised the “powerful” collection.
“There was a lot to choose from, for every age,” Beccari said, pointing to the intricate patchwork designs as well as the raincoats and shearling jackets on display.
Toledano is taking on a broader fashion role at LVMH, overseeing a number of other labels.
Paris Fashion Week runs until March 6. As well as featuring shows by grandees of French fashion such as Dior, Chanel or Saint Laurent, emerging labels will also be present.
Young French designer Marine Serre made her debut on Tuesday, while old couture house Poiret is being relaunched after 80 years and will unveil its collection on Sunday.
Reporting by Sarah White and Johnny Cotton; Editing by Gareth Jones