Today in Poland, thousands of brave women and great men walked down the streets wearing black. They were protesting in solidarity against an anti-abortion law, which is meant to be introduced by the Polish government – in other words, instead of spreading sexual awareness and wider access to contraception, politicians want to utterly limit women’s rights to their bodies in my country. And all of that happens at the same time when Paris Fashion Week is at its full spin. Rarely does a fashion week glamorama relate to reality, and it’s nearly a non-sense to compare those two, completely different universes. But still, Dior‘s spring-summer 2017 burns in my head intensely, noting today’s events.
A few months ago, Maria-Grazia Chiuri, a former designer of Valentino (she worked with Pierpaolo Piccioli, who’s now the head of the brand), was announced as the new creative director of this historic French maison. Yes, you’ve read that correctly: a woman is taking Dior under her wings. Chiuri definitely made history with her appointment, and her step forward highlighted that it’s an ultimate end of a women-less era in fashion… which is, ironically, mostly created for women. Trust me, I was extremely excited about her debut collection. But when I saw the entire show, I felt disgusted. A dummy knew that Maria-Grazia would hit the topic of her own phenomenal appearance in this brand.
In result, she delivered t-shirts with slogans like “we should all be feminists“. How. Banal.
From a position of a female fashion designer, who did Valentino, and now does Dior, being a “feminist” should give an example to millions of people – really, the platform of influence is huge. But in the end, it’s about a t-shirt, which will surely cost approximately 200 euros (or more?). Looking down, we’ve got a meticulously embroidered tulle dress, which will, hah, cost a car. I love fashion, and this industry, but I’m frustrated with the way such important topics as “feminism” is easily printed and tagged around. It’s just about being desperately relevant. It’s like the spring-summer 2015 collection by Chanel, where Karl Largerfeld sent out a line of XS-sized models in couture tweeds to protest in a faux demonstration. In my very personal opinion, coining the term “feminism” can’t be anyhow compared to egalitarian (Valentino and Chanel are far from affordable), or can’t be approached lightly, without a second thought. And while I’m still in the mood of protests and outrage, seeing a fashion collection which is “trying” to be feminist hurts.
Ok, let me chill. Do you want to see real feminism in fashion? Rei Kawakubo at Comme des Garçons. She is the founder of her entire company, and she continues to thrive as an independent owner of it. Phoebe Philo is the embodiment of feminism at Céline, where she creates wearable, everyday clothes for every kind of women. It’s pricey, but a Philo piece is an investment for life. While at Valentino, we’ve got ballerina dresses, tons of embellishments and Dior-logo heels – barely classics. Not that Maria-Grazia Chiuri is a bad designer, or anything like that. I just hope that her tenure at Dior won’t end with a pack of short-sighted slogans.