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Guests arriving at the Dior show stopped to film the installation at the center of the runway: nine life-size bamboo sculptures by Indian artist Shakuntala Kulkarni that looked like full-body armor.

Maria Grazia Chiuri’s collection was about a different kind of shield: the outfits that women adopted in the ‘60s as they made their first steps into careers in roles traditionally dominated by men.

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That era’s sexual revolution was accompanied by a transformation of luxury fashion, as made-to-measure haute couture gave way to off-the-rack clothes that women with independent incomes could buy for themselves.

Her lineup for fall channeled the era’s mix of confidence and ease with buttoned miniskirts, belted trenchcoats and slouchy pantsuits in a mostly monochrome palette. Black patent leather buckled boots with gold ball-shaped heels added a kinky edge to ladylike knee-length wrap skirts and boxy checked coats.

Back in the day, Yves Saint Laurent was the standard-bearer of the burgeoning women’s liberation movement with his provocative sheer designs, currently on show at the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Paris.

But Chiuri wanted to pay tribute to the quiet revolutionary then at the helm of Dior — Marc Bohan, who in 1967 introduced the brand’s first ready-to-wear line, Miss Dior, itself the subject of a recent temporary exhibit at La Galerie Dior, the museum space at its historic flagship.

“His work at Dior was underestimated in some ways, but I think that it was very crucial,” she said in a preview. “He understood that women at the time were in a moment where they wanted to change their style of life. His dialogue was with the daughters of the clients at Dior.”

She lifted a slogan-style Miss Dior logo from a vintage scarf that prefigured the student protests that rocked Paris in

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Sometimes a fashion moment—on the red carpet or otherwise—is so smashingly spectacular it can soon fade into a feeling of despair. How can it ever be topped? Will we ever see something quite so grand again? That was the case with Zendaya’s recent appearance at the London premiere of Dune: Part 2. After years of creating red carpet magic alongside image architect Law Roach, she reached a new apex by walking out in a robotic suit from Thierry Mugler’s 1995 couture collection. The outfit left fashion fanatics stunned and wondering how the actress has even managed to source it (despite being an iconic part of Mugler’s oeuvre, the piece never had a major off-the-runway celebrity moment—not even Lady Gaga had pulled it for a music video). The look even impressed those who have no interest at all in fashion history.

The moment not only made Instagram feeds and front pages around the world, but it also felt like Zendaya definitively won a sort of informal red carpet contest. In recent years, fashionable Hollywood starlets have proved both their own fashion bonafides and the power of their stardom by pulling landmark archival dresses. Zendaya has always been the head of that leaderboard, but the Mugler robosuit felt like she had crossed the finish line, ending the competition forever. Never mind wondering “how can anyone ever top it?”—can Zendaya outshine herself?

Then again—as the furor around Kim Kardashian wearing a historic gown once donned by Marilyn Monroe proved at the 2022 Met Gala—sometimes dipping into the archive can backfire. Some dresses are seen as too sacred to wear again. Wearing, say, one of Princess Diana’s iconic dresses might feel in poor taste. Just because you can pull something doesn’t mean you should.

Still, we can’t help but wonder what, if anything,

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The term muse has been a part of WWD’s vocabulary since the early 1900s. Fashion would define the term as a guide, a source of influence and inspiration. While the relationship between creator and muse will always evolve, the latter can be credited with helping fashion’s leading creatives and brands realize their visions.

Art, for one, ranks among fashion’s most respected inspirations. Paul Poiret couture costumes brought art into fashion in the early 1900s as the exotic renderings of Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes and the Art Deco movement took hold of the cultural zeitgeist in Paris. Collections from brands such as Yves Saint Laurent, Halston, Christian Lacroix, Issey Miyake, Viktor & Rolf, Marc Jacobs and Prada continue to be inspired by the work of artistic masters from Picasso to Andy Warhol, Keith Haring to Koons, Murakami and more.

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Some of the most notable collaborations Marc Jacobs photograph by George Chinsee; Versace by Emanuelle Sardella; Moschino by Aitor Rosas Suñé include Yves Saint Laurent’s homage to Mondrian in his Fall/Winter 1965 Couture collection, which WWD noted at the time as “sort of a revolution.” Saint Laurent brought a modern edge to the couture and spoke to a new generation of young fashionistas. A decade later, Halston paid homage to Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock with prints inspired by the artists’ works in his 1974 spring and resort collections. Some say art and fashion is a marriage made for the runway. As art evolves in the cultural zeitgeist, the juxtaposition of art and fashion will no doubt continue to create moments worthy of note.

Launch Gallery: Inside the Archive: When Fashion Taps Art As Muse

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