Maria Grazia Chiuri’s celebrations of women for Christian Dior have most often been spun around the work of a female art…

Maria Grazia Chiuri’s celebrations of women for Christian Dior have most often been spun around the work of a female artist where the inspiration is necessarily more abstract, but the couture collection she showed on Monday was rooted in a real life, that of entertainer, activist and Black icon Josephine Baker and it was all the stronger for it. Chiuri’s starting point was a trove of old photos of Baker performing in New York in the 1950s, dressed in Dior, but the designer drew a narrative thread back to the 1920s, when Baker first arrived in Paris and created a sensation at the Revue Nègre and, later, the Folies Bergère.There was more contemporary art at the Chanel show on Tuesday morning in the sculptural animal forms created from cardboard, wood and paper by Xavier Veilhan to accompany a show designer Virginie Viard imagined as “a spontaneous village festivity.” Midsommar, or The Wicker Man, maybe? There was something of those cult classics in the giant abstracted creatures that were wheeled into an oddly shadowy show space. There were models concealed within, a hint of Spinal Tap perhaps, that was made more emphatic when an elephant trundled onstage at show’s end. From this giant structure, Anna Ewers emerged, a virgin bride in a veil embroidered with swallows.Armani never takes on a theme by halves. If he’s in on harlequins, he’s all in on harlequins. So what did that mean? Harlequin’s home was in the grand Italian tradition of commedia del’arte with its origins in the carnival of Venice. Armani’s palette — aqueous blues and greens, shot through with a wintry sunrise pink — was the palette of Venice at a particular time of year. The sinuous flow of glittering floor-length sheaths duplicated the effect of light on water.Read Tim Blanks’ coverage of Dior, Chanel and Giorgio Armani. [Link in bio] ⁠⁠✍️ 📷️ Getty Images, Indigital

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