Maria Grazia Chiuri took a gothic turn at Dior with a grungy, witchy show which referenced rebellious women who have stood outside society’s norms and expectations. A film released ahead of the show discussed how the condemnation of witches was a form of control and misogyny. Her moodboard boasted Ingrid Bergman as Joan of Arc, Maria Callas as Medea and Simone Signoret appearing in a film adaptation of Arthur Miller’s play about the Salem witch trials, The Crucible.
The huge Dior tent in the Tuileries was tuned into an immersive wraparound video installation by Italian artist Elena Bellantoni, that subverted advertising imagery, challenging the male gaze with flashing pictures and slogans heavy with irony. ”I AM NOT A DOLL”. “NO-BODY IS YOURS. NO-BODY IS PERFECT. EVERY-BODY IS PERFORMATIVE”. The clothes too, were all about pleasing women rather than men as Chiuri expressed her feminine take on the feminism she has put at the heart of the house.
Painters dungarees became dresses with full skirts, worn over crisp white shirts; the bar jacket came with an artfully frayed hem or was loosened up into an easy blazer. Cobweb knits and were layered over big knickers and Riot Grrrl boots. Dirty denim Bermudas (they looked singed perhaps in reference to the burning of witches) were worn with fluttering tatters of black lace. Chiuri looked to the Christian Dior archive taking the founder’s strikingly asymmetric one shoulder Abandon dress of 1948. She transposed the idea onto crisp cotton, one-shoulder shirts and poplin dresses. Modernity, history, femininity and feminism live together in Chiuri’s Dior. She cast a spell.
Photography by Christina Fragkou.