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An Exclusive Interview With Maria Grazia Chiuri, Creative Director Of Dior

The designer tells us all about her new fall/winter 2021 collection, the fairytale at its heart and how she is moving Dior into the future.

Words by Jeffrey Yan

Exclusive Maria Grazia

 

Can you tell us more about your starting point this season and the collaborators you worked with?

My starting point for this collection was to analyse fairytales. From there, I connected with the artist Silvia Giambrone to conceptualise the show space. She wanted to create a work that was about mirrors because the mirror is an element that is present in many different fairytales and it is also very present in fashion. The original idea was to recreate the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles with the chandelier in the centre and dancers in front of the mirrors to express the relationship that people have with the mirror—there is attraction, but there is also something disturbing. For the choreography, I worked with the great Sharon EyaI—I have worked with her in the past and we have a very good relationship.

But you ended up shooting at the actual Versailles instead of recreating it.

After a while, we understood that it was not possible to do a real show so we decided to do a film. When we decided to go in that direction, my first request was to go to the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles because that was Silvia’s concept—she wants to put the modern artwork close to the inspiration. When I decide to work with another artist, I give the space to the artist and help them bring to life their point of view, what they have in their minds.

How different is it for you when conceptualising a fashion film versus a runway show?

There needs to be a narrative, we need to set a mood, make a storyboard. And making a film for this collection is not like making a film for couture, where afterwards we can deliver the clothes to the final client. We want to make a film where it’s possible to show the entire collection to our audience and our buyers, and balance the narrative at the same time.

What is the narrative this season?

The protagonist is a woman going through the world. It’s the way a young girl, when deciding on her personality, would look in the mirror at her reflection to see what suits her. Fashion is a way to create your character, express your personality; but sometimes, you have to make your choice without looking in the mirror—you have to be comfortable with you, with your body.

Were there any elements from the Dior archive that inspired you this season?

The silhouette is very Dior and some of the materials also reference the archive. I found the work of this artist who worked for a long time with Mr. Dior on prints and from all those prints, I chose two specific prints—one is the rose and the other is the apple. We made them with the same techniques that Mr. Dior used but we lost the figurative element and what you see is the more abstract aspect of these prints. We also have elements that are very close to Mr. Dior, like the Bar jacket, the Dior grey, and a grisaille we made in cotton. We have an amazing cashmere where the colour is slightly different for each piece, so that’s an idea that is close to couture. For the accessories, we reworked an iconic shoe—this fantastic rose that Vivier made for Mr. Dior but we remade it in leather, in a contemporary way.

How do you balance the Dior heritage with the needs of fashion today?

The idea is to create a wardrobe where the pieces are very Dior in the DNA, but contemporary and really timeless. I want to make my vision of Dior, maintain the heritage but move it into the future for a new generation of women with different styles—the same codes, but I translate it with my language. I think that is very important if you want to move a brand into the future.

Was there a fairytale that informed this collection the most?

The fairytale that I really love is La Belle et la Bête (Beauty and the Beast)—it speaks about love, the power of love, the way it can transform anything, and I think that gives the sensual side to this collection. And probably because now it is so much about maintaining distance with each other, it is my way of saying that I don’t like this idea that you can’t touch each other, you can’t kiss each other. I think we all need human contact.

 

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All images courtesy of Dior. 

This article originally appeared on harpersbazaar.com.sg