Finally, it was time again to hold a fashion show the way it is meant to be. With live audience and models and the entire experience, unlike the period of restrictions that only allowed presenting the fashion show through film. On 5 July 2021, designer Maria Grazia Chiuri presented the Dior Haute Couture Autum-Winter Collection for 2021-2022, once again in physical space, in a special installation set up in the gardens of Musée Rodin in Paris. She brought back the focus on materials, craft, nature, textures. The collection exalts the links between architecture, nature and textiles. A graphic vision of couture.The materiality of fabric becomes form, while the subversive language of embroidery is expressed in a project that itself became the center of the performance. An energy resembling poetic pleasure, at the intersection of style, movemnt and attitude. Through textile research, there were a series of pieces featuring an assortment of checks, tweeds, textures and different dimensions in black and white, showcasing innovative warp and weft constructions. Chiuri focused on the singular context, the return to ‘being present’, paying attention to a tactile materiality. She reinterpeted embroidery not just as a decorative ornament but as an element connected to the senses of sigh and touch.
Maria Grazia Chiuri references the book written by textile artist Clare Hunter, ‘Threads of Life’. This book is a reminder of how much sewing plays a crucial part in expressing the many facets of our lives. Hunter writes about how marginalised peoples throughout history have used the language of sewing, embroidery and textiles to tell their neglected stories. This resonates with Maria Grazia Chiuri, whose collection brings critical awareness to the indispensable value of weaving and embroidery, two crafts she holds dear as transmitters of memory and gestures of protection, care and protest. India was in focus, via the huge embroidered panels made by the students of The Chanakya School of Embroidery and Fine Crafts in Mumbai. Past few years, Dior has been engaging with this school. The special room was created by French artist Éva Jospin, and served as an impressive backdrop for the presentation of the dresses with their magnificent pleats, trains, and hand-woven chains that compose patterns on the body, in colours that are a favorit of Dior, such as powder blue or nude.
Couture stirs unsuspected desires and reveals the existence of what we did not know. Isn’t that the role of the avant garde, to make visible what one does not see, to define through aritistic practice the longings of a world that is undergoing profound transformation.