“Fashion that corresponds to their changing needs, freed from the stereotypical categories of “masculine/feminine”, “young/not so young”, “reason/emotion”, which nonetheless also happen to be complementary aspects. Fencing is a discipline in which the balance between thought and action, the harmony between mind and heart are essential. The uniform of the female fencer is, with the exception of some special protections, the same as for a male fencer. The female body adapts itself to an outfit which, in turn, seems to have been shaped to its curves.”
Maria Grazia Chiuri is the first woman to hold the creative reins at Dior. Her boldly feminine outlook – feminist is a recurring word for her – explores the rules of modern beauty to transpose them into a collection shaped by the sensual tension that exists between the body and clothing. Christian Dior’s New Look challenged notions of dress with modernity and rigor, giving back to women the curves and refinement that the war had erased; with fashion that was revolutionary for the time. Maria Grazia Chiuri takes on the tradition of the house of Dior, placing the woman front and center, confounding expectations and questioning that which is taken for granted. She explores the form and shape of a silhouette that’s contemporary, agile and Olympian; exhibiting an elite sporting elegance, while remaining within each woman’s reach. For a uniform this is both a unique and serial element. It is a place where the body’s individuality is prized, and where it can also find common ground with others.
The parts of this uniform, such as masks, jackets and lace, are fundamental elements whose lines highlight the constructive clarity of the project undertaken by Maria Grazia Chiuri, espousing the house’s founding spark – ignited by Christian Dior – to open-mindedly enter into an extraordinary story punctuated by a diversity of talents, appropriating (as in the work Postproduction by Nicolas Bourriaud) each useful item in order to create a new lexicon unfettered by any fashion preconceptions.
Fascinated by the house’s intimate and artisanal aspect, she has experimented with different materials in novel constructions and combinations. Through decontextualised forms injected with movement, she invents a dialogue between signs and gestures: the unoppressive corset that with lightness and lightly-worn irony expresses the desire to look and to appeal; the liberated glimpse of a technical and graphic undergarment that caresses the bust’s curves, its elastic adorned with brand-referencing puns, turning it into a kind of gothic and retro rap to the beat of “j’adior”. Ready-to-wear that embraces streetwear influences and techno materials, as well as that magical, dreamy, almost divinatory dimension, so dear to the founder of the house and expressed by Maria Grazia Chiuri in that notable phrase: “Learn to follow your own dreams.” Sumptuous zodiac sign embroideries cover fabrics to the extent that they appear like paintings. A wealth of tarot gures cleverly transposed into different milieux suggest interpretations of the future.
Materials include cotton, which come in blue, white and black. And Christian Dior’s beloved red, in addition to gray and pink. Denim acts as a connective element. Tulle, silk chiffon and georgette are cut into maxi skirts whose varying lengths re ect a woman’s varying desires. But it is the beating heart embroidered on the chest, as in the rst fencing out ts, that express better than a thousand words ever could, the intensity and strength of emotions possessed by the women of today.