Dior show celebrates fashion up close and personal after pandemic

PARIS, July 5 (Reuters) – French couture house Christian Dior kicked off Paris fashion week on Monday with an in-person runway show drawing celebrities to the front-row in an attempt to revive a touch of pre-pandemic glamour.

Actresses Jessica Chastain, Cara Delevingne, Monica Bellucci and Florence Pugh were among the limited crowd who lined the catwalk at Dior’s Fall/Winter 2021-2022 haute couture collection.

“I am just very happy to be in a room with people and look at incredible pieces,” said Chastain after the show, which she said was her first public event since the pandemic.

Designer Maria Grazia Chiuri told Reuters she wanted fabrics to be front and centre. An audience in the room could appreciate the detail and the tactile nature of the fabric in a way that does not come across online or in video footage.

Tweed ensembles, from jackets to hats resembling horse riding helmets, took the stage in a patchwork of muted tones.

Models showed vegetal prints on a velvet and satin coat. For evening looks, there were long skirts embroidered with feathers and sheer pleated long dresses in silk gauze.

Models present creations by designer Maria Grazia Chiuri as part of her Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2021-2022 collection show for fashion house Dior in Paris, France, July 5, 2021. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

In past months, fashion brands have showcased their collections in online-only formats such as short films.

With vaccinations progressing and lockdowns loosening, fashion is tiptoeing its way back to traditional catwalk shows, for now mixing live audiences and online presentation.

“We are all very emotional,” said Chiuri.

“There are so many people that work on the collection. We were happy to realise beautiful films but it was just a little bit impersonal. [Everyone] is really proud to the see the show, be backstage, live the moment with our clients, the press, our friends. In one year and a half, we lost a lot of these human contacts,” she said.

LVMH (LVMH.PA)-owned Dior staged the show in the gardens of Paris’ Rodin museum inside a temporary structure covered with embroidery designed by the French artist Eva Jospin, and made by Indian craftswomen.

Paris Fashion Week runs until July 8.

Reporting by Laetitia Volga; Editing by Christian Lowe and Giles Elgood

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