When I saw the veiled Dior berets that Maria Grazia Chiuri sent some of the models down the runway with at the Dior Spring/Summer 18, I had to have one. Since I own berets (plural) and am not about to pay Dior money for another one, I embarked upon a 15 minute DIY project. I took a plain black beret and whipstitched some birdcage netting (bought on Ebay) around it, and le voila. I don’t know how much the Dior one is, but mine is less than a tenner!
I adore a beret. I don’t really think of them as French, although of course they are. To me, the beret belongs to Faye Dunaway. She wore berets like no one else ever has or will. In Bonnie and Clyde, she was the perfect female villain… more than an equal to Warren Beatty. Their heists horrified and transfixed me when I first saw that film, and her berets were integral to her femme fatale strength and charm.
Female strength is exactly what Maria Grazia Chiuri is all about. This season, she sent models down the runway wearing tee shirts that said “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” It was a reference to the thought-provoking essay by art historian Linda Nochlin, which Chiuri believes we need to be reminded of, and that the millennial generation needs to be introduced to. Chiuri is the same woman who for her debut collection at Dior, sent models down the runway with tee shirts that said “We Should All Be Feminists.” After all, she’s the first woman to ever head Dior or any big French couture house since Coco herself. She has a platform, and she is going to use it to do more than simply create magnificent frocks and desirable handbags. Her talent is unquestionable; she was co-designer (along with her collaborative partner Pierpaolo Piccioli) at Valentino for 17 years. The Rockstud shoes and bags that she and Piccioli designed are really the ultimate in badass accessories; equal parts beautiful and dangerous. (Incidentally, it was also Chiuri and Picciolo who created the iconic Fendi Baguette bags during their 10 years together at Fendi before they were poached by Valentino). Now that Chiuri is at Dior, I see her handwriting in the tough studded hardware on the new Dior bags.
Now it was with Bonnie and Clyde era Faye Dunaway and Maria Grazia Chiuri’s badass femme fatale in mind that I put this outfit together. Unlike my last post which started with the shoes, this one definitely started at the top with my DIY beret. To keep things sleek and simple, I wore this merino wool roll neck dress. It is one of those perfect pieces for me; it looks thoroughly modern, yet it also looks like it could be from the 1960s (my favourite era style-wise).
I also wore these new Lotus silver and black sequin statement shoes. They have a low heel and a padded footbed, so they are the ultimate party shoe. You can comfortably stand all night in these, or run around a London park, which is what I’m doing! With an all black outfit, I always want to have something sparkly on to keep from looking sombre.
Unfortunately, the wind and nearly-freezing weather meant I had to ruin my outfit with a coat (although it IS my favourite coat). I was hoping to look femme fatale, what I actually look like someone who desperately wants to get warm and have a very hot cup of tea (the first thing I did when I got home). It is hard to be badass with a pink nose and gooseflesh. This is the only photo (below) where I look like I might genuinely be leaving a crime scene.
No matter how hard I am trying to channel femme fatale villain, all it takes is one furry creature to melt me. I always have cashews in my handbag because of the no-sugar regime I’m on. This was the one time I didn’t have anything on me! I promised the squirrel I’d return the next day with my son (who is crazy about squirrels) and a gigantic container of peanuts, which I did.
Note the persistent squirrel lurking in the shadows
When I saw the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the V&A a few years ago, I wrote down a quote that made me love him even more than I already did. He said, “I’m not big on women looking naive.” I’m definitely not either, which is why it took me so long to come around to wearing pink. It is probably why I feel so at home in bold colours, in black, and in strong statement looks. I hope that you have an inner badass, and a few good outfits for her in your closet. If not, it is time to take her shopping!
This shot looks like I’ve just pushed someone off of a bridge, no?
Thank you to Lotus Shoes for sponsoring this post, and thank you for my new Official Party Season Shoes!