Christian Dior’s Autumn/Winter 2019 Couture collection opened with a statement look built on familiar tropes — a catchy slogan “Are Clothes Modern?” emblazoned on a white T-shirt which extended to the floor in the silhouette of an Ancient Greek peplos dress, making an overt juxtaposition of modernity and classical antiquity. This was Maria Grazia Chiuri’s way of referencing the philosophical musings of her latest couture collection, which explored Dior’s relationship with architectural elements through the lens of Bernard Rudofsky’s 1947 essay “Are Clothes Modern?”

To highlight Dior’s architecture, Chiuri imposed an almost exclusively black colour scheme to the collection, which lent a sense of cohesion to the variety of silhouettes. There were riffs on Dior’s New Look silhouette and Bar jackets, appearances of Chiuri’s signature full tulle skirts, ample uses of lace, feathers, mesh and materials evocative of dark romance, as well as a bevy of voluminous red carpet ballgowns that were undeniably lavish and flattering but void of any striking novelty. It was a straightforward celebration of Dior’s craftsmanship and elegance until the closing look: a cut-out dollhouse as a dress, in the image of Dior’s Avenue Montaigne headquarters, to complete the metaphor of architecture and clothing.