Defeating stereotypes, extolling Josephine Baker

Maria Grazia Chiuri’s latest Christian Dior couture collection, ‘Craft of Thought’, was inspired by Josephine Baker, fellow Black artists and the great moments of the Jazz Age. The collection paid homage to Baker and other women of color who succeeded in smashing down stereotypical ideas of how Black artists were meant to behave, act and create by the dominant culture. The collection was staged in a giant tent in the garden of the Rodin Museum and featured a series of very large tableaux created by American artist Mickalene Thomas of Baker and other great Black artists.

The collection was mostly in black and white, with gold and silver accents, and featured lightweight contemporary fabrics, reinventing the wardrobe of Baker and other great Black artists. The collection opened with a risqué black satin swimsuit worn under a silk dressing gown, and continued with silk velvet evening dressing coats, hyper distinguished double-breasted coats, wool day dresses and pleated jackets with skirts finished mid-calf. For evening, there were elegantly crumpled and burnished radzimir silk cocktails, delightfully beaded ivory silk tops and skirts, and multiple examples of semi-sheer and transparent looks.

Chiuri explained in a pre-show interview that Baker was a remarkable woman who was determined to break the stereotype of what people thought of Black women at the time. She came to Paris for the chance to express herself and was celebrated by many famous figures, including Picasso, Cocteau and Hemingway. Chiuri’s couture collection serves to consecrate Baker as a unique couture muse.

What do you think?

Written by Steve Barth

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Gunther, Doublet, and Nahmias’ streetwear takes over Paris Fashion Week

Dante’s Inferno in the Petit Palais