Miniskirts are back: Dior embraces post-pandemic era with a new look

Short hemlines evoke ‘revolution and the spirit of youth’, says creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri

A new era calls for a new look. After a decade when below-the-knee hemlines have ruled fashion, Christian Dior kicked off the first post-pandemic Paris catwalk by bringing back the miniskirt.

Before her first full-scale live show since March 2020, the creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, said the miniskirt suits, short tunics and shift dresses with matching short coats which filled her catwalk – only a few evening gowns dropped below the knee – were about “starting again. The past two years have been super intense, and there has been an idea that maybe we should renounce fashion, because of the impact on the planet. But fashion has always been a constant in our lives. It is not just about catwalk shows. It is something that all of us are part of.”

Model in a multicoloured mini skirt and black sleeveless button down shirt.
‘Mr Valentino, he used to say that miniskirts were only for young women. But I don’t agree with him. Anyone can wear them – as long as it’s not cold,’ Chiuri said. Photograph: REX/Shutterstock

The show began not with one model walking on to the catwalk, but with 85. Aside from six long dresses, all were in the new short silhouette. There was a double-breasted banana-bright coat worn with flat, glossy black Mary Jane sandals; sporty two pieces in boxing-ring satins; a lime shift dresses with monogram chevrons.

“I love a miniskirt,” said Chiuri backstage. “It represents revolution and the spirit of youth. And I like very much the ideas of the younger generation, right now.”

Chiuri, whose demure calf-length skirts have been praised for bringing a mature, wearable silhouette into high fashion, said the miniskirt was for everyone. “When I worked with Mr Valentino, he used to say that miniskirts were only for young women. But I don’t agree with him. Anyone can wear them – as long as it’s not cold.” Despite this, Chiuri took her catwalk bow in a black trousersuit, and her models were uniformly young and traditionally catwalk-slender.

Dior’s new New Look is the 1960s, but not in the tie-dye, peace-and-love sense. Fashion is looking to the very beginning of the decade, a time when clothes look like the 1950s but with a sci-fi edge. Pastel pinks and blues have sharpened to citrus yellows and limes. There are moonboots, and lots of spaceship white. Skirts are short and crisp, but ponytails still bouffant and bouncy. Chiuri said that she wanted to pay homage to Marc Bohan, one of her predecessors in the Dior hotseat.

Despite designing Dior for three decades, Bohan is a relatively obscure name in comparison with predecessors, who include Yves Saint Laurent, and those who came after him, such as John Galliano. Bohan’s first collection for Dior, in 1961, which swapped the hourglass tailoring of the New Look for an abbreviated, boxy silhouette was nicknamed the Slim Look. “He did a great job at Dior. I really don’t know why he’s not better known,” said Chiuri.

The return of the miniskirt is a trend which has been picking up momentum over a month of catwalk shows. Like those of Prada in Milan last week, Dior’s minis were short but tailored, not tight. This is a formal mini, from the pre-Lycra era.

In the Tuileries Gardens in central Paris, the catwalk was staged in the round, as a recreation of the Piper Club, a colourful, cavernous Rome nightclub which opened in 1965. A live band played in the centre of the catwalk with models rotating around the musicians. “I wanted to remind everyone that fashion is performance, not just clothes,” said Chiuri.


Jess Cartner-Morley in Paris

The GuardianTramp

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