#SuzyPFW Dior: The Experience Of Dance

The smoky, cavernous space was filled with mesmerising music as modern dancers folded, stretched, and bowed. Their bodies were hard, their musculature exuding sexuality, while at their feet were flower petals, soft and sweet in their pretty pastel colours.

By the time models at the Dior show had walked across the vast floor space, wearing flower-embellished, whisper-light dresses in the same shade as their leotards worn underneath, the entire audience was cheering. But was it for the event or for the clothes? And does it matter?

“It is about an experience,” said Maria Grazia, who had invited Israeli choreographer Sharon Eyal to share the show space – in a tent spread over the golf course in the Bois de Boulogne.

I will remember the deliriously beautiful experience, even if the writhing performance often seemed more compelling than the Dior shoes, with their ballerina straps and glassy transparent heels, or the filmy fabrics that followed the leg line.

Shaded effects in black, ink blue and beige, with light dresses taking on a darker colour towards the hem, were part of the reshaping of the house. These clothes had nothing to do with the prissy, formal Dior years. And the designer was quick to explain techniques deliberately made for athletic movement.

“I think there are many things in common between dance and fashion – both speak about the body,” Maria Grazia said. “I decided to make a collection with this inspiration, and it has been nice to see dance from this different point of view with a collaboration. It is sometimes important to collaborate with an artist who can give you another point of view about your job. Sharon was fascinated by the craft and the lightness of Dior, so we decided together to build this collection as a performance. That is not so easy, because for fashion you need to show the dress and you need light and space.”

Maria Grazia’s mood board showed quotes from the giants of modern dance. One from Pina Bausch read, “Dance, dance! Otherwise we are lost.” Another, from Martha Graham, stated, “Freedom to a dancer means discipline. That is what technique is for – liberation.”

This unforgettable Dior show started off the Paris Spring/Summer 2019 Ready-to-Wear season with a fine flourish. It could even be seen as a mirror image of what is happening in society, where people in developed countries are leaning towards experience rather than purchases.

Yet the logic of this Dior approach was that clients – who had struggled across a muddy sports ground to reach the audience seating – would leave with a burning desire to buy a ticket to the ballet, rather than a new outfit.

Pietro Beccari, Dior’s CEO, explained this new vision. “I think today the show is more and more not just a display of clothes – you want it to create emotion,” the executive said. “Maria Grazia and I love this. We are Italian, full of emotions. I want people to stand up, saying first, ‘Fantastic clothes!’ but also, ‘I got something out of it.’”