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Dior Closes the Gap between Old and New Feminism with New Fall-Winter Collection

Dior paid homage to the second-wave feminism movement of the 1960s at Paris Fashion Week earlier this month by reaching into its archive and pulling images from the decade to inspire its Fall-Winter 2018-2019 collection.

“Take a look back to a time a half-century ago when revolutionary thoughts and actions were placing the power and energy of youth center stage and influencing generations to come,” the Dior brand wrote in an Instagram post. “For Autumn-Winter 2018-2019, Maria Grazia Chiuri tapped into this anniversary, reinventing and reimagining the legacy of those heady times.”

The line recreated looks from the 60s by featuring crochet, peace signs, and protest slogans with a modern twist. One slogan that made it onto a sweater read “C’est Non, Non, Non et Non,” which is a reference to the Dior archives.

Even the venue was reminiscent of the 1960s. The show was held at Musee Rodin and was decorated with a collage of signs, posters, and newspaper and magazine clippings. One protest sign that stood out referenced a Hillary Clinton quote from 1995: “Women’s rights are human rights.”

But the fashion show did more than just showcase words and slogans. It also paid tribute to the fierce women and badass trailblazers who paved the way for modern feminists to continue the fight for equality.

The people and events that inspired the new line included feminist artists Georgia O’Keeffe and Niki de Saint Phalle, as well as the student’s protest in Paris in May 1968, where students fought for educational reform and a shift away from conservative values.

Another poignant image that heavily inspired the collection was a photo from the late 60s of a group of women protesting outside of a Dior boutique with signs that read “Mini Skirts Forever.”

These women were protesting the fact that Dior, at the time under the leadership of Marc Bohan, did not feature miniskirts on their runway. At the time, miniskirts were symbolic of the feminist movement and the fight against traditional ideals and many women were upset that Dior did not feature any in their shows.

In response, Bohan acted quickly and created the Miss Dior line for women who wanted shorter hemlines. It was this action that helped to inspire Dior’s current artistic director Maria Grazia Chiuri, who in 2016 became the first woman to hold the position.

“I thought it was so interesting to see fashion listening to women,” Grazia Chiuri told The Guardian. “And there is something about now that is similar to 1968. This is another moment when everything is changing.”

This isn’t the first time Grazia Chiuri’s work at Dior was inspired by women’s empowerment. In fact, her debut as artistic director was marked by a t-shirt which read, “We should all be feminists.” She also followed this up last year with another tee that has the words, “Why have there been no great women artists?,” a reference to the critical essay by Linda Nochlin.

Even the Spring 2018 line, which was also shown in Paris, paid homage to women. Not only was it a tribute to Leonor Fini, a surrealist painter who was one of the most important women artists of her time, but it was also a tribute to the “spiritual power of today’s women,” said Grazia Chiuri.

“I try to speak about women now, and for the future,” Grazia Chiuri told Vogue in 2017. “Dior has to be about female empowerment. Only with flowers? It’s not enough.”

With Grazia Chiuri only just beginning to show the world what she is capable of achieving, we hope that Dior will be serving up some fierce feminist looks in the coming fashion seasons.

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