Fashion is always about more than just the clothes, and for Dior's Creative Director Maria Grazia Chiuri, each collection is an opportunity to open up room for inventive imagination.
This was certainly the case for the Dior SS23 ready-to-wear show, where the designer printed an image of a map of Paris from the House's archives onto the back of a scarf. The map traced her own path between autobiography and reflection, with stops at key landmarks like the Tuileries Garden and Avenue Montaigne.
For Chiuri, these places are not just about their history but also about the potential for innovation and change. After all, it was at the Tuileries Garden that Catherine de Medici commissioned heels, corsets, and Burano lace for the French Court in the sixteenth century. In other words, it's a place where women have always exercised their power – and that's something Chiuri wants to celebrate through her fashion.
The idea was to play with this reference and how much fashion and power are in dialogue.
A dialogue between fashion and reality is created through artifice; the Court's garments are transformed. Maria Grazia Chiuri contours the bust with the corset’s geometric form, mimicking the silhouette of Catherine de Medici's wide skirts. Raffia coats adorned with floral and bird motifs are a traditional custom that are also reimagined by Dior's creativity and contemporary expertise.
Among the new pieces, Chiuri reworked floral-embroidered cotton skirts, embroidered silk patterns, and shorts with matching florals and maps. Using the corset as an accessory and showing its versatility in a relaxed Sportif manner, De Medici's corset became a reference point from the past to the present.
Baroque costumes are paired with iconic Dior silhouettes to create trenches that are reinvented for this season, with a contrasting soft colour palette of the deepest black against the purity of white amidst the lightness and volume of long shirts and skirts.
Different embroidery and crochet techniques are combined with raw, almost organic materials, like raffia, to create looks with a touch of contemporary couture. Floral prints create a dreamlike image of a winter garden, dark and scintillating, which adorns dresses, pants, and coats with a new poetic edge.
A combination of delicately embellished knee-highs pays homage to Catherine de Medici’s as platforms and multiple straps enhance pumps, ballerinas, and ankle boots, emphasising the silhouette from ankle to knee. Using chiselled leather gloves that appear as if they have been transformed into mesh, the Ateliers accentuate the allure with a sensual aura, while finely crafted chokers, dangling earrings, and necklaces embody Renaissance baroque luxury and timeless elegance.
The set was as mesmerising as the collection: Eva Jospin's cave on the stage was made from cardboard and had exquisite detailing, which seemed obscured by its understated design. Additionally, Chiuri enlisted the Dutch choreographers Imre, Marne van Opstal, and their troupe to perform a carnally charged dance.
Maria Grazia Chiuri created an enigmatic, melancholic setting in which she encountered Catherine de Médici, Queen and Regent of France and the inspiration for this collection. In exploring her intriguing story with silhouettes steeped in mystery, the Creative Director captured our attention, and her collection represents the many facets of feminine power.
If you liked this feature, you might like our article about Saint Laurent’s Paris Fashion Week ’23 show.
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