Dior© Copyright 2019
Maria Grazia Chiuri has always had her heart set on establishing creative exchanges with African cultures. With this collection, she sought to dialogue with the real and imagined landscape of Morocco, at the crossroads of the Mediterranean, Europe and Africa, as a dream destination for artists, poets, writers and eternal adventurers.
Showing the 2020 Cruise collection in Marrakesh represents a way of being guided by the memory of the House and Christian Dior’s first successor, Yves Saint Laurent, a native of Oran who was fascinated by Morocco. This show also illustrates the concept of a meeting of ideas, a “common ground” like the one feminist philosopher Naomi Zack describes, in which, despite all differences, exchanges among women can materialize through reflection and action.
This collection is a world map connecting images and ambiances that, on this side of the Mediterranean, have shaped our visual culture. Its original inspiration – and veritable emblem – is Wax print fabric. The anthropologist Anne Grosfilley explores its complex origins and evolution. The incredible story of this fabric unfolds like a family tree, a journey that winds its way from Europe and Asia, extending into Africa. Wax print fabric celebrates and federates diversity; it is the fabric of a cultural melting pot.
Maria Grazia Chiuri collaborated with the Uniwax factory and studio (in Ivory Coast) to reinterpret Dior codes by integrating them into the weave of the fabric for a special edition. Revisited in Wax, new toiles de Jouy come to life, recasting various landscapes or reinventing tarot motifs. The Bar suit, like all the other pieces, exalts the power of fashion as an inclusive, transnational language.
The Dior archives attest to this fascination, in Marc Bohan’s Jungle silhouette or a scarf printed with an African lion that gave life to a savannah bestiary. Landscapes that inspired authors such as Albert Camus, Paul Bowles, Alberto Moravia and Bernardo Bertolucci unfurl across warp prints, jacquards and fils coupés. At the crossroads of culture and emotion, Maria Grazia Chiuri underscores the power of Nature, an evocation punctuated with ecru silk, silk gauze, and shantung that, in shades of sand, indigo or burned red ocher, enhance coats and suits, pleated skirts and trousers.
Through its cultural dialogues, the Cruise collection offers a condensation of diverse realities and temporalities. Fashion itself is a unique fabric inspired by countless places and times that gives rise to a new vision. Through this magical act, Maria Grazia Chiuri projects a collective memory, a common territory that is open to every kind of possibility.
Maria Grazia Chiuri imagined this collection like a map whose topography is filled with sentiments revealed through traditions, places, cultures and savoir-faire, recalling how techniques, gestures and images belong to a collective heritage. This cartography is enriched and animated by various creative collaborations that nourish Maria Grazia Chiuri’s project and enhance Dior’s codes like a multilingual artistic dialogue.
The collaboration with Uniwax was indispensable for bringing to life fabrics infused with the creative imprint of both Dior and Africa. Founded in Abidjan, Uniwax is one of the last remaining factories producing Wax fabrics through mechanized artisanal techniques. Uniwax protects African creativity and cultural heritage. Today, it is one of the rare companies to support and produce African fashions. In keeping with tradition, the edging of fabrics produced for Dior bear the inscription of their origin: Édition Spéciale Christian Dior – Uniwax.
Pathé Ouédraogo – aka Pathé’O – is one of Africa’s leading designers. Through his work, he supports fashion that is entirely Made in Africa. His pride in his roots, combined with Nelson Mandela’s wish to embody a strong and progressive African identity, gave rise to a kinship between his brand and the late president of South Africa. His emblematic shirts in bright colors and bold prints have become symbolic of the African continent and its cultural diversity. For this collection, Maria Grazia Chiuri invited the designer to create a special shirt. Through this exclusive piece, Pathé’O pays tribute to Nelson Mandela.
Maria Grazia Chiuri also wished to collaborate with Grace Wales Bonner and Mickalene Thomas, to reinterpret through their combined creative vision an icon of the New Look, the Bar jacket and a skirt. Stephen Jones, Dior’s milliner, also dreamed up an array of headpieces.
The British-Jamaican designer Grace Wales Bonner was born in London and graduated from Central Saint Martins. In 2016, she won the LVMH Prize. Her work explores questions of personal identity through the construction of tailoring and riffs on masculine and feminine codes. African cultures are often explored in her designs: her graduate collection was entitled Afrique. In 2019, she curated the exhibition Grace Wales Bonner: A Time For New Dreams at the Serpentine Gallery in London, a show that examined ritual, mysticism and magic across the Black Atlantic.
Mickalene Thomas, the African-American artist, pays tribute through her work to pluralistic femininity and diversity, drawing inspiration primarily from her mother, who was a model in the 1970s. Mickalene Thomas refers to the great European masters, such as Ingres and Manet, and creates colorful collages that question social norms and preconceived definitions of female beauty. Mickalene Thomas also collaborated with the House of Dior on the 2018 edition of Dior Lady Art.
Like an ode to travel, the Wax headbands and bandanas designed by Dior’s milliner Stephen Jones in collaboration with the headwear designer Martine Henry topped silhouettes in the 2020 Cruise collection. Their multitude of colors and motifs intermingled with creations by Maria Grazia Chiuri.
The researcher and anthropologist Anne Grosfilley (a specialist in African textiles and fashions) is the world authority on Wax fabrics. In her book African Wax Print Textiles, she refutes simplistic interpretations. Her book presents fabrics like a family tree: her research reveals the multiple origins and constant evolution of Wax, the result of a long history between Europe, Asia and Africa. Above all, Wax fabric represents a cultural melting pot.
Wax is a highly complex print, the result of a painstaking process that combines symbols, technicality and creativity. Around twenty transformative steps are required to achieve the final result. Wax is a true means of communication. The women of Togo were the first to draw on their commercial instincts by choosing to give names to different motifs, creating a language that spread with the distribution of the fabrics and which speaks to different cultures. The complexity of their messages creates a unique mix of ancient symbols and nods to contemporary history: alphabetic characters, stylized florals and animals mix with illustrations of modern-day objects such as cars, fans, light bulbs or phones.
With this collection, Maria Grazia Chiuri wanted to show her commitment to highlighting a textile manufacturer based in Africa, Uniwax, which perpetuates while continually renewing the extraordinary savoir-faire that makes Wax an extremely precious, totally unique and culturally rich fabric.
For the scenography, Maria Grazia Chiuri collaborated with Sumano, an association that aims to revive the traditional women’s crafts of Moroccan tribes, notably painting on pottery, the art of weaving and vegetal dyeing. Its goal is to preserve and promote ancestral practices by creating more visibility around these original pieces. The name Sumano is a tribute to the first names of three women artisans (SUzanne, MAnuela and NOuky), the grandmothers of the association’s founders.
Sumano is a laboratory for creative exchanges where tradition meets contemporary techniques, a source of new savoir-faire. Clay is seen as an expressive and creative medium, opening up infinite possibilities. For the show’s decor, Sumano produced both pottery and fabrics. This collaboration is composed of painted ceramic plates and cushions, as well as a coat that has been woven and painted by hand.
Thu, May 2 2019 » Fashion Blog
Dior© Copyright 2019
Each new collection is an alchemy born of the confrontation between images, bodies, silhouettes and language. For Maria Grazia Chiuri, this creative mechanism is no longer about breaking with the past; rather, it’s a gateway to rediscovering and celebrating the richness of House codes.
For this ready-to-wear collection, the Artistic/Creative Director turned her attention to Teddy Girls, the female counterpoint to Teddy Boys – one of the first British subcultures – as a way of revisiting the 1950s, a post-war period marked by Christian Dior’s New Look that Maria Grazia Chiuri has seldom explored before. The queens of a ravaged landscape, Teddy Girls were impertinent characters with wild quiffs who wore Edwardian-style men’s jackets with velvet scarves, ample skirts, jeans and black leather jackets.
These references offer a new perspective on the 1950s, which Maria Grazia Chiuri chose to associate with the character of Princess Margaret. Ever the rebel, the young princess in 1951 elected to wear a dress by Dior – rather than one by a British dressmaker – for her official 21st birthday portrait photographed by Cecil Beaton. Fascinated by the mix of classicism and subversion, elegance and rebellion inherent in English culture, Christian Dior drew from it many sources of inspiration, as illustrated by the exhibition Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, now at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. One by one, Maria Grazia Chiuri reclaims Dior codes, drawing in turn from its lexicon to create and reinvent the designs of tomorrow.
Thus, the Bar suit is revisited along a more masculine line, through cut, fabric and a velvet collar. It converses with gathered skirts made suppler through the use of technical fabrics that are also worked into dresses inspired by Christian Dior’s nipped-waist silhouettes. A conceptual and stylistic reinterpretation of the Fifties infused with the spirit of “sportswear”, mixed with the House’s signature elegance.
The first in a series of historically referenced themes, the black leather jacket by Yves Saint Laurent for Dior – an homage to the underground culture of the 1950s and 1960s, and particularly to the French “blousons noirs” – is here revisited by Maria Grazia Chiuri.Through the modernity of its materials and techniques, the iconic silhouette of the Miss Dior dress – which Christian Dior designed for the Spring-Summer 1949 haute couture collection – expresses the mix of strength and grace the Artistic Director favors. This inspiration also informs evening dresses composed of bodysuits and skirts that may be embroidered with transparent paillettes or embellished with flowers in relief. Low-heeled shoes are tapered and cut low in front. A new palm tree version of Toile de Jouy recalls the work of the artist Mario Schifano, and appears on a series of shirts or combines with checks and gingham, in black and red or black and white.
“Subcultures” confirm – through the style sense they appropriate – that the simple fact of choosing one’s clothes becomes a political semaphore. Silkscreened t-shirts pay homage to the literary works of Robin Morgan, the American feminist poet, with elements from Sisterhood is Powerful (1970), Sisterhood is Global (1984) and Sisterhood is Forever (2003), which celebrate the concept of sorority.The show’s scenography relies on ABCs – with each letter representing a different woman – created by the Italian artist Tomaso Binga, a woman who chose a masculine pseudonym as a way of parodying the privileges reserved to men alone. In so doing, the pieces in the collection reconnect with an idea of femininity that transcends gender and anatomy, and further the exploration of identity that Maria Grazia Chiuri champions in her reinterpretation of Dior’s history.
Thu, February 28 2019 » Fashion Blog
A sensibility of couture, a spirit of now. The Dior men’s winter 2019-2020 collection by artistic director Kim Jones draws on the attitudes and imprints of the house of Dior’s couture heritage – shapes, techniques, materials, ethos – then reinvents them anew. Alongside this continues Kim Jones’ examination of Christian Dior the man – namely, his background as a gallerist of the avant-garde of his time. It is mirrored today in a collaboration with the artist raymond pettibon. All become, in essence, acts of translation: from feminine to masculine, from art to fashion, from then to now. Examining the past, making it speak to the future.
The inspiration is all derived from Dior, from the house’s emblems and markers, and then evolved. Animalier, drapery, architectural tailoring, a soft color palette, de luxe haute couture materials. An unmistakable, often imitated but never equaled elegance. A parisian sentiment. The animalier comes to the fore as monsieur Dior’s beloved panthère – introduced in his first collection in 1947 – is joined by tiger and leopard patterns in knitwear and intarsia furs.
The notion of couture is expounded through tailoring, sometimes inlaid with panels of satin as if the lining is exposed. That idea is heightened in pieces that are entirely reversible – expressive of the idea that couture should be as perfect inside as out. A utilitarian bent to harnesses and vests reinforces the notion of couture as a craft. Alongside tailleur comes flou. The technique of moulage – the couture method of draping directly on the form – inspires gestures of fabric used to frame tailoring.
The asymmetry of the diagonally-wrapped tailleur oblique is further explored through coats with panels that wrap across buttons, disrupting the precision of their shape. Other jackets have panels of fabric that button inside, draping to the floor – theoblique, extrême. The preciousness of haute couture is reflected through fabrications – cashmere, silk satin, furs, that are combined with technologically advanced materials to give fabrics a high-gloss sheen.
Knitwear is made with a new technique, which resembles moiré; lace is cut into body-hugging sweaters. Nylon is used to mirror silk with its lustrous surface texture: beautiful yet lightweight and practical, it is representative of a modern idea of luxury. The color palette is archetypal Dior: palest blue, mauve bisque, a symphony of pearlized grays, midnight blue and black.reflecting Dior’s love of and fascination with the art world, Kim Jones collaborates with the artist raymond pettibon for this collection.
A curation of existing drawings are shown alongside debuts of entirely new works specially-created by pettibon, and evolved into prints, knits, jacquards, and hand-embroideries. A figure subconsciously influenced by the mona lisa; a pair of eyes staring into the future against an impressionistic sky. These references to classical art are joined by works inspired by Dior; a spray-painted version of the Dior animal print – punk panthère – which resembles a floral, and a reimagining of the house’s logotype, used in jewelry.
As Kim Jones reinterprets Dior, he invites others to do the same. Christian Dior’s personal obsessions and superstitious nature are the theme behind the jewelry by yoon ahn, featuring mementos and charms, worn like amulets and as charm bracelets. The Dior ‘cd’ emblem becomes the fastening on a safety pin. It simultaneously speaks of punk – of the now, and the contemporary art of raymond pettibon – and the world of haute couture.
Underscoring the crossing from the feminine to the masculine world, accessories continue to translate the Dior ‘saddle’ bag into a men’s wardrobe. Today, Kim Jones’ reinterpretation is executed in nylon or lush leopard-patterned mink as a new cross-body style; backpacks, also in nylon, feature Dior’s signature cannage quilting. The ‘saddle’ becomes a pocket on utility gloves elongated to opera length.
Other bag styles draw on classic Dior shapes, their scales altered and adjusted. These sit alongside the hyper-modern: a series of cases designed for the electronic essentials of life today include sleek cases in raymond pettibon-printed plexiglass, leather or Dior oblique canvas, designed to fit not one but two iphones – new necessities.
The shoe styles feature nylon gaiters, the leather intricately brogued or laser-etched with panther spots.the collection is presented as a series of tableaux vivants along a vast, 76-meter-long moving walkway, like a couture salon showing of the past but on an operatic scale.
In place of the monolithic statues of the previous two seasons, here the looks form the centerpiece, striking poses in sculptural attitudes that, like classical artworks, throw shade.shown in the heart of the french capital, this Dior men’s collection – like the house of Dior, like the art of haute couture itself – is fundamentally, quintessentially parisian.
Sat, February 2 2019 » Fashion Blog
Dior, by Dior. In his autobiography, Christian Dior reasoned that there are two Diors – the man, and the myth. The latter is the house of Christian Dior, born in 1947; the former, monsieur Dior himself. For his debut collection as artistic director of Dior men, Kim Jones has chosen to interpret the codes of monsieur Dior himself through the language of his couture house. It is a dual tribute – to the reality of Dior, and the fantasy.
Drawing inspiration from Christian Dior’s private life and his creative output, the collection represents a dialogue between these two sides of his personality. Couture has inspired the savoir-faire and informed the choice of materials – notably in a reference to the house of Dior itself, through the use of a toile de jouy chosen for the original boutique at 30 avenue Montaigne, decorated by Victor Grandpierre in 1947. A new Dior emblem, inspired by this heritage, it appears as jacquards and embroideries, on materials as diverse as tulle and soft leather, and executed in feathers.
Translating a quintessentially feminine couture identity into a masculine idiom results in clothes which are softer, with rounded shoulders and eased shapes. A slashed cowl is added to the back of shirts, exposing the nape of the neck. A new Dior jacket, the tailleur oblique, wraps the body in a diagonal line, a subtle reference to the shape of monsieur Dior’s autumn-winter 1950 collection. It is executed in featherweight cashmere and summer mohair, as well as in the British wools beloved of Christian Dior for his own wardrobe and those of his clientele. Combining tradition with modernity, Kim Jones fuses references to haute couture with sportswear, representative of contemporary masculinity.
Floral motifs are a constant. They echo both monsieur Dior’s love of nature, and his “femmes-fleurs”: they are actually drawn from his personal porcelain, the shapes reassembled into contemporary patterns for prints and embroideries. Feather embroideries by lemarié are overlaid with vinyl, an effect that mirrors the glaze of bone china.
Porcelain inspires the color palette, which also echoes monsieur Dior’s edwardian upbringing and love of the eighteenth century: blue, white, the pale pink of his childhood home at granville, and the symbolic Dior gray. A shot of brilliant yellow-gold reflects Jean Cocteau’s definition of Dior as “this agile genius of our times whose magical name contains Dieu (god) and or (gold).”
The summer 2019 collection also references the profoundly personal and intimate – an almost secret history of monsieur Dior. His dog, bobby, who inspired a limited edition of the miss Dior perfume bottle and provided the name for a suit in the autumn-winter 1948 collection, makes a witty recurring motif. The jewelry introduces a new modernist logo derived from the one used for the Dior family’s business ventures in the 1920s; an embroidered cipher comes from the announcement of Christian Dior’s birth in 1905.
The abstract notion of the interior also inspires techniques: a series of jackets seemingly reversed to expose striped linings, and overlays of organza – both silk, and a technical sportswear organza – which allow the insides to be revealed. These, in turn, also transform the clothes into another homage, to couture savoir-faire.
Accessories also draw on the inimitable Dior heritage. The emblematic Dior ‘saddle’ bag is interpreted for the first time for men, offered in cross-body, backpack and belt-bag styles. It is even reappropriated as pockets on ‘archive’ leather jackets. An embroidered version of the toile de jouy features on leathergoods, alongside other Dior codes – the cannage pattern laser cut in leather, the Dior oblique canvas in a new tricolor variation.
Christian Dior stated that his identity as a couturier was actually not one man but many – a composite of people. Kim Jones draws on this same sense of community for his debut: yoon of ambush has created the jewelry, employing Dior emblems such as the neoclassical ‘cd’, flowers and insects; Matthew Williams of 1017 Alyx 9SM has designed a new metal buckle, used on accessories. Stephen jones has created millinery based on original ‘Christian Dior monsieur’ pieces, found in the house’s archives.
In a special commission, the artist Kaws has created the centerpiece of the show décor using his signature character bff covered entirely in roses, as an avatar of Christian Dior himself, clutching a replica of the bobby perfume bottle. Kaws’ designs for bee motifs – a Dior men emblem – punctuate the collection as idiosyncratic embroideries and prints, reflecting monsieur Dior’s own observation: “you can never go wrong if you take nature as an example.”
Here, the inspiration is both the natural world, and the nature of Dior itself. It results in not only a new look, but a new outlook.
Wed, July 4 2018 » Fashion Blog
“The sixties were about personalities. It was the rst time when mannequins became personalities. It was a time of great goals, an inventive time…. and these girls invented themselves.”
Anniversaries can be triggers for exceptional memories. Remembering is also about reinventing and imagining. Fifty years after the momentum of urgency and creativity that the year 1968 brought, this is an opportunity for Maria Grazia Chiuri to revive an era when the rules of fashion were turned on their head. Indeed, thanks to this emulation which stimulated the emergence of new ideas, creativity for creativity’s sake, the cut-up technique and travel as a means of discovering others but also oneself, youth occupies a place at the centre of the scene.
For this Autumn-Winter 2018-2019 Ready-to-Wear collection, the Artistic Director of Dior was guided by these symbols and attitudes representing a search for authenticity. Magni cent woollen embroideries appear on organza dresses, jeans are reworked and printed, bags are inspired by the House’s archives, with an ethnic shoulder strap or patchworks made of fabrics drawn from the same heritage: these pieces become veritable windows on the world. Ponchos are worn freely. Ornamentation becomes important, acting as ambassadors of the different cultures each type represents. The collection evolves in a spirit of freedom as much in its creation as in its associations, shapes and materials.
This act of cutting loose and choosing one’s own image is precisely what Maria Grazia Chiuri sets out for the women of today. Kilts come in different lengths, but also in unexpected materials like point d’esprit, and are paired with masculine jackets or small coats. The abundant knitwear is also embroidered and hugs the body. Dresses have been shortened and are worn over biker-inspired thigh boots. Her sharp fashion instinct guides the designer throughout this return to a singular and incredible time, because changing the world also means changing clothes.
It was Diana Vreeland, the charismatic editor-in-chief of Vogue US from 1963 to 1971, who coined the term Youthquake and de ned the Youthquakers. The times were changing, as were the bodies, faces, attitudes and personalities of those who initiated this sartorial revolution – an earthquake that forever changed the way we dress. Fashion was being questioned, but constantly reinventing itself to tell a new story that could say everything and its opposite. Moreover, when a group of young women in miniskirts held a protest on 12 September 1966 in front of the Dior boutique with placards bearing the maxim ‘Mini Skirts Forever’, as shown in a photo from the time, Marc Bohan, then Artistic Director of Dior, came up with the Miss Dior collection and reinterpreted the idea of femininity as shaped by Christian Dior.
In this collection, Maria Grazia Chiuri, on the other hand, openly counterbalances the return of the uniform, to bring us back to what it signi es: the individual taking precedence over gender differences, and the equality of rights and roles which remains the great conquest of that time.
Thu, March 1 2018 » Fashion Blog