Warrior women were out in force — and in pretty dresses — for Dior’s fall show front row.
Maria Grazia Chiuri plays on feminist themes, and this season invited a handful of action heroines including Charlize Theron, Maisie Williams, Bella Ramsey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and “Wonder Woman” herself, Gal Gadot.
“The Woman King”‘s young fighter Thuso Mbedu, “Alice in Borderland”‘s Anyaka Miyoshi and Blackpink’s Jisoo — a K-pop girl group known for challenging stereotypes — filled out the front row.
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Theron rocked combat boots with her flapper-style beaded gown, and reveled in the comfort and the contrast. “I’ve always been a fan of femininity and all its complexities and that it isn’t one thing. So anytime I can kind of play with that contradiction of what is soft and delicate and what is strong, to me that feels very authentically who I am,” she told WWD.
“I don’t know if it’s them or if it’s just truly that’s a part of who I am,” she said, about some of her tougher characters in films such as “F9,” “The Old Guard” and “Mad Max: Fury Road.”
“There’s a part of me that feels fit, physically capable and feels strong and I have never veered away from that side. I’ve never been just an ultra-feminine woman. I’ve always kind of wandered in between both worlds,” she added.
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The mystery of Maisie Williams’ shaved head was finally solved, as she revealed it was for the role of Christian Dior’s sister Catherine in the upcoming Apple TV series “The New Look.” The 1940s-set role is a change from her “Game of Thrones” sword fights, but a different kind of battle — and not just mastering the French accent, she said.
“Playing her was honestly quite harrowing, but she’s an incredible woman,” Williams said of the French Resistance fighter. “I got to dive into Catherine’s life through the book by Justine Picardie and learn about what she meant to [Christian]. And then I had to shave off all my hair and lose lots of weight and undergo a physical transformation. It was tough, but what an incredible experience.”
Williams was also able to dig through the brand’s archives and learn about the Dior family, which is still connected to the work Chiuri does. “What I love most about Maria’s work is that she acknowledges the history and really kind of brings it to the forefront of what she does. It’s a history to be so unbelievably proud of, so I really feel the brand reaches its full potential when you dig back into all the archives.”
Gadot was entranced by the fantastical set by artist Joana Vasconcelos that resembled an otherworldly underwater kingdom or the Amazon rainforest, depending on your perspective. For her, it was a little more psychedelic. “It looks like a gorgeous installation in a museum that everyone had ‘shrooms in,” she joked. “When they started playing Édith Piaf I started singing along. It was a great, great show in every possible aspect.”
Mbedu took in all the influences of the art installation, which was inspired by textiles from the Dior archive. “I’m looking around and it’s literally a case of ‘What am I seeing?’ I understand the show is inspired by Catherine Dior, and having been a fighter in World War II, she was a strong woman and I’m good with that. I love seeing how all of these influences speak to each other,” she said.
She noted it was her first time in Paris, and she also hoped to catch up with fellow South African Theron, who was surrounded by photographers. “They don’t give her a second to breathe,” Mbedu said of the photo frenzy, which had guests being rudely shoved out of the way and almost knocked over by the swarming horde.
It was also the first time in Paris for seatmate Bella Ramsey, as well as the first fashion show for “The Last of Us” star. The creations are a world away from the wardrobe on the zombie show.
Ramsey said it’s been challenging to deal with the sudden intense fame, but that she’s glad people are connecting to the character. “It’s been a whirlwind for sure, but last year was the best year of my life.
“This is madness,” she declared of the collection and her outfit. “It’s completely different to what I wear in real life — I spend my whole time in jogging bottoms, hoodies and jeans. But I’m just taking it all in.”
Mbatha-Raw enjoyed her first fashion show back after attending when pandemic restrictions were still in place. She was wearing a miniskirt with knee-highs and a hiking-style boot. “It’s sort of gussied up safari school girl vibes. Look at the socks, I mean c’mon,” she said.
She’s stepping into the executive producer shoes for the second season of “Surface,” she said. “There are so many elements to it, and it’s kind of trial and error. I’m still learning.” That shoot will begin in May.
“Alice in Borderland” star Miyoshi sported a floor-length floral skirt and lace top, another departure from her warrior character. Speaking through an interpreter, she said that after she’s read the script she gets an idea of what the character calls for, and works with the costume designer to come up with looks that fit the fight scenes of the sci-fi heroine.