Dior’s Creative Director Maria Grazia Chiuri shares her romantic vision of a world where nature is celebrated.
Throughout Christian Dior’s life and career, botany was both a refuge and a source of inspiration for the couturier. There was much that Monsieur Dior loved about flowers: their beauty, colour, silhouette, and scent. In his memoirs, he wrote: “I drew femmes-fleurs, “women-flowers” with soft shoulders, busts blooming, waists slender as vines and skirts full as corollas.” More than an analogy, his creative vision was that of a new femininity. This saw expression in a strong floral aesthetic that permeated several seasons, from the iconic Miss Dior dress of spring-summer 1949, a gown embroidered with a thousand petals, to the Roseraie dress of spring-summer 1957.
For decades, creative directors of the fashion house have in succession celebrated its founder’s passion for nature. This Spring-Summer 2020 ready-to-wear collection, Creative Director Maria Grazia Chiuri appeals to the modern sensibility and calls for the conservation of our natural world.
Said Chiuri: “It appeared essential to me that this legacy be addressed with a new perspective: flowers and plants don’t just serve an ornamental purpose, they are our environment. We have a commitment to care for them, today more than ever.” Indeed, more than a sartorial ode to a decorative tradition, Chiuri’s creations can be seen as a tribute to plants, and a timely invitation to humanity to respect and protect nature.
An Inclusive Garden
Diversity is at the heart of Chiuri’s enchanting collection. “I started this collection by thinking about a key inspiration for Christian Dior: the garden, which Catherine Dior, his sister grew and nurtured as a professional florist,” said Chiuri. Miss Dior, a gardener who lived in harmony with nature, embodied many values that Chiuri sought to espouse through her collection.
Miss Dior was not Chiuri’s only muse; the Creative Director’s designs showcased beautiful prints and exquisite embroidery depicting lush florals and vegetation in a style reminiscent of the detailed illustrations found in herbaria. (The herbarium at the Museum of Natural History in Paris served as a key resource for Chiuri.)
She also drew inspiration from Monte Verità [Hill of Truth] of Ascona, Switzerland, a destination known not only for its idyllic surrounds but also its association with bohemian thinkers and artists.
Dreamy colours and earthy neutrals dominated the runway looks, while various statement pieces and ensembles featured natural materials like raffia and straw. Notably, the show also included a plurality of silhouettes, including the cinched-waist Miss Dior dress, the tailored Bar Jacket, and flowy, ethereal dresses. The art of nature relayed through the accessories as well.
The show pulsated with life at its stunning set on the Longchamp racecourse: a total of 164 trees from France, Germany, and Italy were brought together for the arboretum, which was created in collaboration with Coloco, a Paris-based landscaping collective that creates green spaces for communities. In line with Chiuri’s conviction to promote sustainability, the potted trees saw a second life after the show – they went to the reinforcement of wooded areas in Longchamp and the creation of urban groves in central Paris, among other Coloco projects.
“I have always perceived a fashion show as a way to spread a message, a platform to share my convictions. This season, I also wanted to encourage people to take action,” said Chiuri. That she did, and in a memorably poetic way.
Images courtesy of Dior, artwork by Curatedition. All rights reserved.