"The circus is a magical place," wrote Dior creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri in her couture show notes. "The imagination of many artists has been stimulated by the fascination for a world that is both wondrous and raw, poetic and and indispensable."
For her couture autumn/winter 2019 collection, the designer took inspiration from the "creative chaos" of the circus, combined with the work of artist Cindy Sherman and her focus on clowns. To help bring this vision to life, she enlisted the help of all-female circus company Mimbre, who animated the show with performances along the catwalk.
The acrobats, who were all dressed in matching black and white outfits, performed various stunts, tumbles and towers as the models weaved between them. Their performance was designed to "highlight the trust and bond between the acrobats' bodies," explained Chiuri.
The show took place within a big-top circus tent, filled with shimmering fairy lights, while models walked across a multi-coloured Harlequin-print floor.
The fashion house has historic links with the circus; Christian Dior himself enjoyed going to the Cirque d'Hiver, which is where, in 1955, photographer Richard Avedon took his famous photo, 'Dovima and the Elephants' - "an image that perfectly evokes the wonder and majesty of haute couture," says Chiuri.
The circus influences were deftly woven throughout the collection, appearing via ruffled clown collars, a tattooed sleeve - reminiscent of a Victorian circus performer - or through tulle skirts covered in tutus, in a nod to the costumes of acrobats, tamers and riders.
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