In the Dior show among the pyramids, there were Orientalism and spacecraft.

The legality of exotic fashion shows hosted worldwide by major labels is a topic of constant debate in the fashion press. To view the Pre-Fall and Cruise collections during the regular fashion weeks, the majority of the fashion industry would need to fly to Milan or Paris. However, this would require entire caravanserais of editors, buyers, celebrities, and influencers to travel from hundreds of different locations around the world, incurring significant financial costs as well as using a lot of fuel and other resources, resulting in high emissions. This was remarked regarding the glitterati marching in December specifically, which will take place in Cairo for Dior, Dakar for Chanel, Los Angeles for Celine, St. Mortiz for Pucci and Armani, and Paris for Jacquemus. And although it’s true that fashion requires opulence and spectacle (who can forget when Jacquemus flew a large crowd to Hawaii for a beach presentation or every Chanel show Karl Lagerfeld produced?) Additionally, it is true that in these times of social responsibility, the need to eliminate waste and emissions competes with the desire to foster conversations, draw attention, and ultimately pique interest in a gathering that, if it did not include for the guests a five-star stay in Cairo with a shower of gifts and celebrity proximity, might not draw as much attention given that, let’s not forget, in the end, we are talking about clothes that only 0.01 percent of the pu Nevertheless, there are instances when the various sources of inspiration for a particular presentation or collection, if nothing else, guess an aesthetic or a situation. Dior’s final FW23 show in Cairo achieved exactly that.

The look being explored here is more subdued and sci-fi, evoking Stargate, Immortal Ad Vitam, The Fifth Element, and, to a lesser extent, Blade Runner, whose scenes were replete with futuristic pyramids, Egyptian symbolism, and colonnades akin to those found in the Valley of the Kings. It would have been simple for Kim Jones to fish in the cauldron of Egyptian aesthetics as Galliano did for Dior’s 2004.The Junon dress and the Bonne Fortune dress are two of the most obvious references, but there are plenty of nods to specific silhouettes by Marc Bohan and Yves Saint Laurent as well as references to the works of Maria Grazia Chiuri, in keeping with a strategy Jones has already used in the brand’s previous two collections. Given that Dior’s is ultimately a commercial luxury that manifests as a hyper-high-end product, it is indicative that this season’s menswear openly embraces some genderless notions in the form of pleated skirts and aprons that reference the pleated costumes of the Ancient Egyptians.The astronomical motifs and numerical symbolism that the ancient pharaohs and Christian Dior were obsessed with are combined with desert and nomadic suggestions that pass for colors, silhouettes, and even accessories that seem to have come straight out of Dune (both Jodorowsky’s, which was never made, and those of Lynch and Villeneuve). Then, using methods like high-frequency neoprene paneling and injection molding to achieve anodized metal finishes, Cannage and Diamond motifs are transformed into new decorative devices for shoes or tops.The collection’s looks thus create the perfect transition from the earth to the stars, starting with the hues of the sand and ending with the darkness of night, with the final look being a high-definition print of a distant galaxy taken from a NASA telescope.

After going over the show’s aesthetics and sources of inspiration (the soundtrack by Max Richter was also amazing), it is important to briefly revisit the subject of touring performances. The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism, which only last year organized a multi-million dollar parade to transport the most significant mummies and artifacts from the old Cairo Museum to the new National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, was likely very interested in these shows despite the fact that flying hundreds of people from one part of the world to another for a parade is not the most environmentally friendly choice.

As if to further cement the connection between fashion, jet-set, and the complete renovation of all tourist facilities with which the country intends to draw tourists from all over the world, making one forget the numerous human rights violations that Abdel Fatah al-regime Sisi’s still commits, Dior presented the collaborative capsule with Tremaine Emory of Denim Tears in the very grand Egyptian Museum or Giza Museum, which is scheduled to open to the public in a month. Since the time of Ancient Rome and even more so since British colonialism, Egypt has been a popular tourist destination for the affluent class. This reputation has persisted through the early 2000s despite the country’s less-than-ideal political situation in recent decades, which, however, many years ago appeared to have been lost with the events of the Arab Spring. Therefore, it is impossible to avoid wondering to what extent politics and fashion came together on this occasion, similar to what occurred in Qatar with the several high-profile fashion events staged in the lead-up to the World Cup.

And if choosing to draw attention to the nation does not equate to working with the authoritarian regime in place since 2014, Dior’s pharaonic show (the pun is intended, of course) is at a curious intersection of superlative aesthetics and mercantile ethics, so to speak, that returns a reflection of contemporary fashion that is simultaneously omnipotent, oversized, seeking attention, and subservient. Although, outside of the avant-garde, a fashion show may very well be a no-brainer, it may be best to take the spectacle at its value. A pyramid can occasionally just be a pyramid, to paraphrase Freud.


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