An ode to Josephine Baker: Dior winds back the clock in Paris with new collection

Models wear creations as part of the Dior Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2023 collection presented in Paris.
Models wear creations as part of the Dior Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2023 collection presented in Paris.   -   Copyright  Thibault Camus/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
By Charlotte Lam  with AFP

Dior's inspiration for the Spring Summer 2023 Haute Couture collection once commanded the stage of smoky jazz clubs -- often draped in silk and sequins.

Josephine Baker and the best of the Roaring Twenties is at the heart of the luxury label's latest designs, which have been showcased in Paris for fashion week. 

The American-born French dancer, singer and actress broke boundaries in the 30s with her performances, often mocking colonialism. She was also the first black woman to star in a major motion picture.

At the Musée Rodin Chiuri on Monday, Dior womenswear designer Maria Grazia unveiled a sartorial story inspired by legend. 

Christophe Ena/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
A model wears a creation as part of the Dior Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2023 collection presented in Paris.Christophe Ena/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved

For this collection, she skipped past Baker's iconic on-stage looks, instead taking inspiration from her equally fabulous off-stage garbs. In particular, her love of suits and intimate garments.

"[Josephine Baker] immediately made very precise choices, very haute couture, where there were very modern cuts, but also pleated skirts with jumpers," Chiuri said.

"It was also incredible to see her in uniform because she was a woman who had been part of the French resistance, who had also fought for human rights. So I think she had an incredible awareness of what she could do with her fame."

Dior's collection was complimented by artwork from American visual artist Mickalene Thomas. Larger-than-life portraits of Black and mixed-race women, including Eartha Kitt and Naomi Sims, lined the catwalk. 

A homage to the breaking of racial barriers, Josephine Baker paved a path for these women and more. 

The set is currently open to the public at Musée Rodin until Sunday. 

For more footage, watch Euronews' report in the video above.