A New Mash-Up at Dior: Go-Go Boots and Scuba Shoes

Fashion Week is back in full force, and there’s a lot to see. Blink (or scroll too fast on Instagram) and you’ll miss the details: tiny bags, tall shoes, feathered hats, leather capes and diamond dog collars. So as part of a new series, Wow Moment, we’ll spotlight things we saw on the runways that delighted or mystified us.

PARIS — With fashion swerving toward sexy, there was something refreshing about the sporty designs put forward by Dior at its spring show on Tuesday. Platform heels and super-pointed toes? Hard pass, says the Dior woman of 2022. She’s wearing scuba shoes.

More specifically, she’s wearing black or white knee-high boots, with toes dipped in a single neon color — yellow, orange, pink, green or blue — and traced with lines of that same color down the shaft and around the foot. (In the black versions, the neon-tracing effect is very “Tron.”) Or she’s wearing Mary Jane flats in the same material and colorways.

Both versions of the shoe come in Neoprene (a nonbiodegradable wetsuit fabric) with a humane one-inch block heel.

At a preview of the collection on Monday, Dior’s artistic director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, said that the stretchy nature of the sock-style boot made it feel on the foot like something between a boot and a sneaker.

Ms. Chiuri is not the first to put scuba or Neoprene shoes on the runways (see Prada, Balenciaga, Christopher Kane), but what makes her versions distinct is their connection to the 1960s and ’70s — the era of go-go boots, but also years when Dior was designed by Marc Bohan, whose signatures included the “slim look” and bright colors.

Ms. Chiuri has credited Mr. Bohan with inspiring the collection. It turns out the two designers have a common interest: “I love sport,” Ms. Chiuri said.

It was Mr. Bohan who introduced the Christian Dior Sport line with a ski wear collection. (Today, Dior Sport is best known as a men’s fragrance.) In April 1962, when The New York Times reported that “the world-famous House of Dior,” known for its mink coats and ball gowns, had “trained its sights on sportswear,” it called the new ski gear “amusing and elegant.” In 1964, it described a particular face-shielding nylon ski jacket as giving “the wearer a slightly outer-space look.”

This was the same year The Times declared, “No great fashion came out of 1964, but everyone had a lot of fun.”

If Ms. Chiuri hoped her Neoprene shoes would resurrect some of that fun — and Mr. Bohan’s sporty-spacey aesthetic — she succeeded.

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