Dior / © Adrien Dirand
On July 1st, the hôtel particulier at 30, Avenue Montaigne – the birthplace of Maison Dior, where every artistic director has worked in close collaboration with the Ateliers – was the venue for the runway show presenting the haute couture collection designed by Artistic Director Maria Grazia Chiuri for the coming winter season. The show featured a new conceptual vision of haute couture as an art destined to dress bodies that are always unique and invested with a singular identity.
The inspirations for the haute couture collection include the reflections of architect Bernard Rudofsky, who questioned the form and function of clothing, as well as works by Penny Slinger, who created the scenography for the show. With her powerful black and white creations, the feminist artist recounts the potent alchemy of fire, air and water at the heart of a hostile and mysterious nature populated by feminine creatures.
These feminine creations become contemporary iterations of caryatids, the sculpted female figures that support the architecture of ancient temples, draped in tunics with pure lines. They are much like the single white dress Maria Grazia Chiuri designed for a collection that explores the pluralistic power of black. “I could write a book about black,” Christian Dior declared.
In designing a collection almost entirely in black – punctuated by rare colors that reveal its power – Maria Grazia Chiuri returns to the foundations of haute couture, confronting them with contemporary lifestyles. Black demands perfection, giving life to transformable capes during the runway show. Each dress is an edifice that reveals its construction, the bone structure that supports and defines it.
“We don’t need a new way of building; we need a new way of life,” affirmed Bernard Rudofsky. By the same token, this collection sketches out an original landscape, making it possible to question notions about the body, clothing and the themes of habits (French for clothes) and habitats. Haute couture becomes a creative laboratory for thinking differently about clothing and its relationship to time and space.