In the seasons since her official debut as creative director of Dior for Spring 2017, designer Maria Grazia Chiuri has made a repeated and concerted effort to, as her first show notes for the French house read, "[place] the woman front and center" and spread a message of feminism through her collections. In doing so, she's highlighted the unique talents of women alongside the models who walk her runways, from a performance by a troop of escaramuzas — Mexican female rodeo riders — for Cruise 2019 to the incorporation of a choreographed modern dance piece in the Spring 2019 show, filled with silhouettes inspired by ballet leotards, tutus and more.
For Dior Couture's Spring 2019 collection, which debuted on Monday afternoon in Paris, Chiuri transformed her show space into a literal circus ring, complete with a tent lined with strings of lights, a rainbow-tile runway and female acrobats performing incredible feats of strength. The presentation began with the aforementioned gymnasts carrying one another down the runway on their backs, shoulders and even upside down, setting the stage for the thematic clothing and accessories that would follow.
One by one, models in glitter swim caps and mime-inspired eye makeup paraded looks paying homage to the Big Top. There was sharp, tailored suiting worthy of a ringleader or a lion tamer in red, black and white with golden trim; candy-striped mini-dresses were accented with sparkling embroideries, structural skirts, Victorian collars and voluminous sleeves; Harlequin-inspired diamond patterns covered gowns, pleated skirts and sheer blouses; and circus motifs including rings of fire, wild animals, sideshow characters (like a sheer bodysuit recalling a tattooed lady) and loose ribbons reminiscent of a classic, striped tent made up the bulk of the collection.
Eye-popping sparkle was a key facet of the show, from glitter boots and all-over beaded dresses to suiting, tights and dresses dotted with sequins or rhinestones. As per usual when it comes to couture, the gowns were a scene-stealer: Light-as-air pleated options in metallic shades of pink, green and gold seemed to float down the runway, as did a number of sheer tulle gowns and fully beaded showstoppers with thematic embroideries. These are what we expect to take center stage as awards season marches along in the weeks ahead.
See every look from the Dior Couture Spring 2019 collection in the gallery below.