In the Brothers Grimm version of Little Red Riding Hood, a young girl ventures deep into a dark forest to deliver food to her sick grandmother, unaware of the wicked wolf waiting to eat her. Depending on which version of the story you were told as a child, the fairy tale may have kept you up at night or lulled you to sleep.
Italian designer Maria Grazia Chiuri’s first couture show for Dior is much like the story of Little Red (or if you prefer the Italian version, The False Grandmother) — equal parts whimsical and grim.
#emptyspaces in today's breathtaking venue for the long attended first Dior Haute Couture collection of #MariaGraziaChiuri for the House. Stay connected to soon discover the full Spring-Summer 2017 haute couture show. #Diorcouture
A photo posted by Dior Official (@dior) on Jan 23, 2017 at 5:29am PST
Held at Musée Rodin in Paris, the show brings the museum’s outdoor gardens inside. Jarden Dior is a spiraling, lush maze, not as dark as the forest Little Red walked through, though every bit as enchanting.
The fairy tale comes to life in the show’s first act. Chiuri’s version of Little Red opts instead for all black, as the ensembles evolve from a demure, cloaked look with a Bar jacket and ankle-grazing skirt to a black cape, modeled by a masked Kendall Jenner. We’re now deep into the forest.
Chiuri’s Dior debut isn’t all dark, though. A strapless, off-white tea-length dress is striking in its simplistic elegance. The hem’s soft pleating flows like a glass of milk poured to help one fall back into dreamland.
Out of the forested set, animals abound. Most visibly, models hide their faces behind sheer bird and rabbit masks. But the motif doesn’t stop there: Bold, metallic butterfly necklaces lie on models’ necks, while garden snake belts wrap their waists.
Chiuri’s vision brings animals from on high down to earth as well. Zodiac creatures and celestial prints on floor-length dresses prolong the dream state.
Another standout piece: a crimson gown that looks more like a tufted silk comforter, yet is inviting and rich.
Thanks to Chiuri’s vision, we’ll dream endlessly of Dior.
Alexandra Mondalek is a writer for Yahoo Style and Beauty. Follow her on Twitter @amondalek.