For the autumn-winter 2016- 17 Christian Dior haute couture collection, Lucie Meier and Serge Ruffieux return to the source, the foundation of the House: the ateliers. Symbolically, their collection is presented in the couture salons of 30 Avenue Montaigne—an intimate setting for a collection dedicated to the knowledge and superlative craftsmanship of Dior’s ateliers, the poetry of their work.
It is very interesting to see this last collection made by the Atelier and paving the way to the future creative head. The rumor is that Christian Dior is set to announce in the coming day that Maria Grazia Chiuri is joining the French fashion house from Italy's Valentino.
The Bar suit, the essence of Dior, is the principal inspiration. Like the beating of a heart, it punctuates the entire collection. But the inspiration goes beyond form, the signature silhouette of hourglass jacket and full skirt, encompassing every aspect of the Bar. Thus the entire collection is in the original palette, brilliantly contrasting black and white.
Black and white holds a particularly important place for Lucie Meier and Serge Ruffieux. The combination is the most elemental representation of duality: masculine and feminine, history and modernity. The designers also see the contrast as a metaphor of their own relationship, how through the dynamics of difference a whole greater than the individuals is created, working together to find a harmonious balance: two perspectives becoming one.
Monsieur Dior himself adored the juxtaposition of the two: “White,” he said, “is simple, pure and goes with everything,” while declaring, “I could write a whole book about black”. Such sartorial quotes nourished the monochrome palette of the fabrics and prints, the latter reminiscent of a mid-century couture photograph by Horst or Penn come to life. Like a painting by Picasso when he chose monochrome over colour to better focus on structure, the collection becomes a study in form and shape.
The only colour, the single embellishment, is sculptural gold embroidery, inspired by the works of César and Claude Lalanne, a nod to Art Brut. Jean Cocteau described Dior as, “This nimble genius unique to our age, whose magical name combines God and gold [Dieu and or]”. Gold accents the collection, adding emphasis: the embroideries are worn like jewellery. For the show, the Dior salons were also jewelled, covered with gilded panels, while the jewellery collection echoes the embroideries’ sculpted forms and asymmetric application.
Everything here celebrates the incomparable expertise of the Dior ateliers, the source of all beauty