The theme for the Dior Couture collection film was totally unexpected and today, in cyberspace, Maria Grazia Chiuri sent us a real curveball with her concept.
The house creative director is well known for addressing the burning issues of the day — most recently those surrounding consent and female equality — with the staging of her shows. However, for fall ’20 she offered us a Surrealist dreamworld instead.
Chiuri presented her collection via a short fantasy film directed by Matteo Garrone. It opens with the house’s petites mains stitching miniature versions of the collection, which, when finished are packed into a doll’s-house-cum-trunk, shaped like Dior HQ on Paris’ Avenue Montaigne. (More of this later).
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Two bellboys proceed to tour said trunk through a phantasmagorical landscape peopled with nymphs, a mermaid and various creatures of Greek legend, all of which, of course, order versions to their own dimensions. Then it’s back to the atelier where they’re made up and the film ends with happy customers in ethereal (Greek) goddess gowns.
It’s becoming likely this season that we’ll see designers responding to the current world turmoil in two ways. Thus far, they are either addressing the pandemic experience or issues of social justice head on like Schiaparelli’s Daniel Roseberry and Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing on Sunday night or heading down an escapist route like Chiuri. She offered us a welcome respite from controversy and a chance to dream outside of the relentless 24 hour news cycle. Both responses are equally valid.
While some might say that it’s difficult for a digital outing to generate the same emotion as a real live fashion show, Dior showed today that it’s entirely possible with beautifully conceived storytelling. The budget of a mini feature film doesn’t hurt either.
Storytelling also sells. That the Dior headquarters on Avenue Montaigne made a cameo appearance in the film is no coincidence. Just like luxury rival Chanel, up tomorrow morning, the LVMH owned Dior has been cleverly insinuating its legend into commercial reality for some time. It often models stores, not least the most recent on Paris luxury shopping street Rue Saint-Honoré, on the facade and interior of this original location.
Number 216 Rue Saint-Honoré opened over the weekend with five levels designed by architect Peter Marino, replete with house codes such as walls featuring the Toile de Jouy canvas from the founder’s first boutique. The medallion chairs Monsieur Dior used for seating guests at his own fashion shows are reinterpreted as sumptuous armchairs.
Now it’s time to get comfortable. Sit back and watch the film.