The pioneering Black performer Josephine Baker — who left the United States to find global fame in Paris in the 1920s — was Dior’s muse for an old school spring couture collection of archetypal classicism.
With her caressing velvets and silks, embroideries, sequins and tiny silver studs, designer Maria Grazia Chiuri may not have reinvented the wheel, but she certainly embellished it beautifully on the first day Monday of Paris Fashion Week.
Yet the event’s first day wasn’t without controversy after Dior was criticised for inviting a Russia influencer sanctioned by Ukraine. Moreover, Schiaparelli was the subject of online ire for glamorising trophy hunting after featuring a fake lion’s head.
Lining the perfume-scented interiors of an annex inside the Rodin Museum gardens were giant images by African American artist Mickalene Thomas of Baker alongside other female Black American icons.
The stark tableaux photographs documented Baker’s extraordinary life and her many roles: as member of the French Resistance, civil rights activist and humanist as well as dancer and performer.