Niki de Saint Phalle and Dior | DIORMAG

28 September
Shows

Upon Arrival

The structure’s facade was etched with a quote by Niki de Saint Phalle from her book published in 1985 on the occasion of the first presentation of her work based on tarot cards: “If life is a game of cards, we are born without knowing the rules. Yet we must play our hand. Throughout the ages people have liked playing with tarot cards. Poets, philosophers, alchemists, artists have devoted themselves to discovering their meaning." These sentences provide another tool to understand the collection and echo Christian Dior’s passion for this divinatory art. 

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Adrien Dirand

27 September
Shows

VIP

Camille Rowe

Naomi Watts

Britt Robertson

Karlie Kloss

Natalia Vodianova

Alexa Chung

Eva Herzigova

Annabelle Wallis

Charlotte Le Bon

Gabriella Wilde

Olivia Palermo

Winnie Harlow

Arizona Muse

Aymeline Valade

Jeanne Damas

Chiara Ferragni

Aimee Song

Camilla Coelho

Negin Mirsalehi

Liying Zhao

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Getty

27 September
Shows

Niki de Saint Phalle and Dior

For her ready-to-wear spring-summer 2018 collection shown yesterday in Paris, Maria Grazia Chiuri looked to the work of Niki de Saint Phalle for inspiration, along with the artist’s friendship with Marc Bohan, the then Creative Director of Dior.  

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Droits réservés

Our story starts in 1965. That was the year Niki de Saint Phalle presented her first Nanas in wool and papier mâché, and when Marc Bohan made her acquaintance through the gallerist organizing the exhibition. They quickly became fast friends. Theirs was a friendship founded on admiration, with each attracted to the creations of the other. An art lover, Marc Bohan acquired four Nanas: a big one in a striped swimsuit, a smaller one in a dress with straps, another, naked, with a tattooed body, and, lastly, a monumental one carrying a handbag. "I loved the invention in her work," he said. As for Niki de Saint Phalle, she appreciated the style of his designs for Dior. She became a client of the House, attended fashion shows, and the Creative Director even designed clothes specially for her, such as this long double-breasted coat with voluminous fur sleeves, which the artist wears belted and accessorized with a beret, in 1965. Their creator-to-creator connection was still going strong nearly twenty years later when it took the form of an inspiring and inspired exchange. In 1982, Niki de Saint Phalle called on her faithful friend to dress her for the launch of her perfume. Unsurprisingly, Marc Bohan looked to the aesthetic codes of her sensual and colorful work; the fittings of these spectacular creations are immortalized in these snapshots in which the Creative Director, in his work smock, places a tiara composed of two intertwined snakes on his friend’s head. Two years later, returning the favor, a Nana was positioned on the steps of the Grand Palais, where the House’s spring-summer 1984 collection was being shown. A dialogue between Dior and Niki de Saint Phalle continued by Maria Grazia Chiuri today.

27 September
Shows

The Show Looks

26 September
Shows

The Show Video

26 September
Shows

Female Artists

We turn a spotlight on the essay by Linda Nochlin which inspired Maria Grazia Chiuri and whose title appears on a t-shirt in the ready-to-wear spring-summer 2018 collection.

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Morgan O’Donovan

“Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?”

This is the question provocatively posed by the American feminist historian Linda Nochlin in an article published in 1971 in the journal Artnews. The jolting phrase seeks to awaken consciences to a very real problem: why does the history of art only contain great male artists? The essayist's answer: because its story was written by men.

“Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?”

This is the question that can be found today emblazoned on t-shirts in the Dior ready-to-wear spring-summer 2018 collection, not as an echo of Linda Nochlin's observation but rather a rallying cry for female artists. If, in effect, for Maria Grazia Chiuri, the history of art until 1970 excluded important female figures, contemporary art today is far more open: it has become universal in its embrace. By way of proof: Niki de Saint Phalle – who inspired this collection and who, at the same time as Linda Nochlin's article, was producing major artworks, and to whom history has accorded a significant place. 

26 September
Shows

Collection

This afternoon, in the gardens of the Musée Rodin in Paris, Maria Grazia Chiuri showed her ready-to-wear spring-summer 2018 collection. Check out the press dossier.

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Nicole Maria Winkler for Dior

As in all fairy tales, before finding the treasure, on my way I met dragons, witches, magicians and the angel of temperance.”

Niki de Saint Phalle

 

 

During her research in the Dior archives, Maria Grazia Chiuri, Artistic Director of the women's collections, had her interest piqued by a series of photographs of Niki de Saint Phalle. On one of them, the artist can be seen on a camel, on others, she’s posing for Dior during the tenure of her great friend Marc Bohan, then creative head of the House. Embodying the beauty of her time, more adolescent than androgynous, small and fiery, she exhibits a style of dressing that’s both iconic and personal, and current in its proportions and whimsy. Her life is the stuff of literature. At the time of the liberation of women, Niki de Saint Phalle threw herself into a close relationship with art, the world and herself. Like all artists, she was driven by her emotions. And it is this feminine creativity that speaks to Maria Grazia Chiuri.

Why have there not been great women artists? This is the question posed in the essay by Linda Nochlin published in 1971, which also called out to Maria Grazia Chiuri. It is necessary to give these different and specific artists their due, for it’s they who break the mold of the traditionally male discourse in art history, and in fashion. These are the Nanas, sculptures of extraordinary women, but also the multicolored hearts, the dragons, the tree of love, and the exaggerated and over-the-top masterwork, the Tarot Garden in Tuscany, which become patterns, broken embroideries and mirror mosaics in Maria Grazia Chiuri’s collection and the show scenography. She is not afraid to take Niki de Saint Phalle’s exuberantly colorful palette and to make it dialogue with lace, silk, leather or plastic.

This collection, inspired by the artist, also makes reference to Marc Bohan, and his little dresses and jumpsuits, sometimes teamed with full skirts opening at the front. There are also large polka dots, black and white checks, trousers worn with ordinary or safari jackets, and teamed, according to mood, with men 's shirts featuring fine stripes or polka dots, or of a romantic white: all borrowings from the vocabulary of Marc Bohan. Finally, the collection’s atmosphere and references, whether explicit or implicit, lead us into the heady turbulence of the 1960s, illustrative of the changing forces of these female universes. They change not only fashion, but the contemporary world, too.

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