Dior’s Mount Olympus: A Sporty Couture Homage to the Paris Games

Models present creations by Christian Dior during the Haute-Couture Fall/Winter 2024 show as part of the Paris Fashion Week in Paris, on June 24, 2024. (AFP)
Models present creations by Christian Dior during the Haute-Couture Fall/Winter 2024 show as part of the Paris Fashion Week in Paris, on June 24, 2024. (AFP)
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Dior’s Mount Olympus: A Sporty Couture Homage to the Paris Games

Models present creations by Christian Dior during the Haute-Couture Fall/Winter 2024 show as part of the Paris Fashion Week in Paris, on June 24, 2024. (AFP)
Models present creations by Christian Dior during the Haute-Couture Fall/Winter 2024 show as part of the Paris Fashion Week in Paris, on June 24, 2024. (AFP)

Dior staged an homage to sport on the eve of the Paris Olympics on the grounds of the Musée Rodin on the first day of Paris Couture Week on Monday.

The show let the sumptuous, lightweight silks — georgette, taffeta, tulle, and sporty jersey — speak for themselves, draped elegantly over the body.

Here are some highlights of the fall-winter 2024 collections:

Athletes old and new

The walls were lined with dazzling artworks of athletes by Faith Ringgold, a feminist artist who died in April. Designer Maria Grazia Chiuri used fall’s couture as a stage “to pay a fitting tribute to all athletes ... from antiquity to the present day.”

On the runway, Grecian-style draping evoked the original Olympics. The nod to antiquity echoed the Italian designer’s penchant for historical influences.

Jersey fabric, an unconventional couture material, was handled poetically. It cascaded down the model’s body in loose, fluttery segments, with a twin leather belt to define the waist.

Mosaic embroidery on skin-tight tank tops added a contemporary twist, seeming to sculpt the bust. Sandals adorned with pearls sported crisscross straps up the leg.

The nicest looks were the simplest. An ecru lightweight wool gown seemed like a single whoosh of fabric, hanging whimsically and loosely from the shoulders. It had an unexpected cowl back. This simplicity with an element of surprise is quintessential Chiuri, who has said she often finds elegance in restraint.

Serena Williams marveled and applauded from the front row.

Van Herpen breaks the mold

Iris van Herpen presented her couture as sculptures in what the house called a “profound shift” in the Dutch designer’s trajectory.

“For a long time I’ve been working on expanding people’s perception of how fashion and art can be symbiotic,” van Herpen said. She compared her techniques in couture, such as draping directly on the mannequin, to sculpting.

“Even though we call one practice ‘haute couture’ and the other ‘art,’ to me, it’s one universe,” she said.

Van Herpen unveiled her collection amid her new large-scale, monumental pieces at a “hybrid" show. They were crafted with innovative techniques on tulle surfaces and suspended via steel tubes.

While preparing her retrospective in Paris' Musée des Arts Décoratifs that recently closed, van Herpen realized a longstanding ambition to delve into sculpture and painting. Her new works, developed over a year, reconnect with nature and the freedom of slowing down. Her move to a tranquil residence outside Amsterdam fostered this idea.

“The little transformations that happen every day fiercely inspire me,” she said.

The fall couture dovetailed with similar themes. Gravity-defying, slowed-down silhouettes and ethereal draping embraced the couturier’s signature three-dimensional printing and silk folding. The Umwelt and Aeromorphosis gowns featured a gradient of pearls mimicking cyclonic sculptures, while the transparent Ataraxy dress, sculpted with a heat gun, captured the sense of floating away. They held a Renaissance-like feel.

Honoring Japanese craftsmanship, the Sensorium dress was crafted from obi fabric, which evoked a sense of spirituality and peace.



LVMH Shares Drop after Missing Second-quarter Estimates

A man walks past a shop of fashion house Dior in Paris, France, April 15, 2024. REUTERS/Manon Cruz/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
A man walks past a shop of fashion house Dior in Paris, France, April 15, 2024. REUTERS/Manon Cruz/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
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LVMH Shares Drop after Missing Second-quarter Estimates

A man walks past a shop of fashion house Dior in Paris, France, April 15, 2024. REUTERS/Manon Cruz/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
A man walks past a shop of fashion house Dior in Paris, France, April 15, 2024. REUTERS/Manon Cruz/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights

Shares in LVMH (LVMH.PA) fell as much as 6.5% in early Wednesday trade and were on track for their biggest one-day drop since October 2023 after second-quarter sales growth at the French luxury goods giant missed analysts' consensus estimate.

The world's biggest luxury group said late Tuesday its quarterly sales rose 1% year on year to 20.98 billion euros ($22.76 billion), undershooting the 21.6 billion expected on average by analysts polled by LSEG.

At 1000 GMT, LVMH's shares were down 4.5%.

The earnings miss weighed on other luxury stocks, with Hermes (HRMS.PA), down around 2% and Kering (PRTP.PA), off 3%.

Kering is scheduled to report second-quarter sales after the market close and Hermes reports on Thursday, Reuters reported.

Jittery investors are looking for evidence that the industry will pick up from a recent slowdown, as inflation-hit shoppers hold off from splashing out on designer fashion.

JPMorgan analyst Chiara Battistini cut full year profit forecasts by 2-3% for the group, citing softer trends at LVMH's fashion and leather goods division, home to Louis Vuitton and Dior.

"The soft print is likely to add to ongoing investors’ concerns on the sector more broadly in our view, confirming that even best-in-class players like LVMH cannot be immune from the challenging backdrop," said Battistini in a note to clients.

The weakness of the yen, which has prompted a flood of Chinese shoppers to Japan seeking bargains on luxury goods, added pressure to margins, another source of concern.

Equita cut 2024 sales estimates for LVMH by 3% - attributing 1% to currency fluctuations - and lowered its second half organic sales estimate to 7% growth from 10% growth previously.

The lack of visibility for the second half beyond the easing of comparative figures - as the Chinese post-pandemic lockdown bounce tapered off a year ago - is unlikely to improve investor sentiment to the luxury sector, Citi analyst Thomas Chauvet said in an email to clients.

"No miracle with the luxury bellwether; sector likely to remain out of favour," he wrote.

Jefferies analysts said the miss came as investors eye Chinese shoppers for their potential to "resume their pre-COVID role as the locomotive of industry growth and debate when Western consumers will have fully digested their COVID overspend".

LVMH shares have been volatile since the luxury slowdown emerged, and are down about 20% over the past year, with middle-class shoppers in China, the world's No. 2 economy, a key focus as they rein in purchases at home amid a property slump and job insecurity.

LVMH offered some reassurance, with finance chief Jean-Jacques Guiony telling analysts during a call on Tuesday that Chinese customers were "holding up quite well," while business with US and European customers was "slightly better".