Dior’s ‘New Look’ Is a New York Look at Pre-fall Runway Show in Brooklyn

Maria Grazia Chiuri’s Dior New York landed in Brooklyn on Monday night with a megawatt front row.

While the pre-fall collection, which hits stores soon, was previewed by fashion media in December and is currently being globally promoted via Dior’s latest campaign, its Brooklyn Museum-based runway show was all about celebrating the Parisian house, and Chiuri’s close relationship with New York City. And boy was it a full house, complete with Rosamund Pike, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlize Theron, Naomi Watts, Rachel Zegler, Diane Kruger, Michelle Williams, New Jeans’ singer Haerin and more

More from WWD

In a preview with WWD on Sunday, the creative director recalled her frequent travels to the city since she was 18; dreams of holding a Dior show here; admiration for the museum’s dedication to curating global, feminist artworks, and the relationship between house founder Christian Dior and his French-conceived, New York-made Christian Dior New York collection in 1948, as seen in the “Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams” exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum in 2021.

At the show, Chiuri drew many parallels between the past and present, immediately seen via two art installations of historical feminist works by Suzanne Santoro, and contemporary neon works of the feminist art collective Claire Fontaine (from duo Fulvia Carnevale and James Thornhill) that lined the walls of the runway in the Beaux-Arts court. The symbolic, neon “Double Double” hands that were part of the set were, in fact, modeled after drawings of the hands of Santoro, Chiuri, the curators and seamstresses involved.

“Maria Grazia is an extraordinary person because she’s, first of all, very generous, because she shares this crucial space on the catwalk with art. These artworks could rival with her clothes, but she doesn’t see it that way. And in that sense, she’s really visionary,” Carnevale said of the creative director’s knack for curating creativity across mediums and eras.

The idea continued through the clothing.

When Chiuri previewed the look book-shot collection with WWD’s Miles Socha in December, the 116 looks leaned into the soigné, gender-bending style of Marlene Dietrich.

On Monday night, Dietrich was clearly present in the mix of masculine tailoring and feminine glamour — youth-tinged tuxedo separates; Bar jackets; English menswear tweed tailoring, and evening gowns (slim, sensual black dresses, or a black-and-white number that directly nodded to the dress Dietrich bought from Lucien Lelong, mentor of Dior). But inside the Brooklyn Museum walls, the New York vibe was also front and center with a handful of looks made exclusively for the show. On the runway, with Yoko Ono’s music bumping, the city’s sexy, edgy and raw mood pulsed through each style.

Nods to American sportswear included a very sportif take on the Christian Dior Bicentennial 1976 Franco American hybrid flag silk scarf, reimagined as a ‘90s-nostalgic pullover windshirt with track pants (which also came with Dior logos, which will certainly be a commercial hit), or graphic “New York-Paris” leggings worn with a leather peacoat.

Statue of Liberty and Eiffel Tower large-scale motifs on tote bags, black-and-white dresses and outerwear reinforced the cross-cultural exchange, while the return of John Galliano’s iconic black-and-white newspaper print used on Saddle bags was modernized with news clippings from WWD and others, to reflect the important relationship between Dior and New York fashion media. After all, it was American journalist Carmel Snow who coined Dior’s history-making “New Look.”

During the preview, Chiuri said while in New York she often sees girls in their short dresses — fewer clothes — but layered with trenchcoats. Her fabulous, flapper-like, micro-sequin embroidered and beaded fringe dresses would certainly fit right in. Also on point: the on-the-go streetwise mentality of sneakers and shopping bags on the runway. Comfort and ease, from day to night, were key for pre-fall.

“When you go [out] in the city, you can have different locations and moments, but you don’t come back home, so everything is with you,” she said.

The 1948 Abandon black dress with plunging, asymmetrical neckline also returned, cut closer to the body in jersey to match the sensuality of Chiuri’s often skin-baring, reworked tailoring and back-draped, fluid dresses.

“Because the opportunity that we have today, with textiles but also with new knowledge, is to translate the references in a way that is more wearable for everyday. Prêt-à-porter is about being wearable and easy also for travel,” she said of the lightweight, 1940s-inspired hammered satin, crushed velvet and crepe dresses, and the slips worn beneath large coats, including a select number in quilted Cannage nylon.

“For me, it’s more of an investment to have a beautiful coat, because you use it more. I think it’s more functional — something that’s durable, you can use many times over years and you can mix it in different ways,” Chiuri said of the myriad investment-worthy styles, such as a stealth leather aviator jacket (with painted Franco American flag motif) paired with a crisp white shirt, tie and below-the-knee skirt — perfect for those New York shoebox apartments.

Launch Gallery: Dior Pre-Fall 2024 Collection

Best of WWD