Real runways require in-person audiences and Maria Grazia Chiuri couldn’t have expressed it better than through the runway of Dior’s Autumn/Winter 2021 Haute Couture collection. Celebrating the return of “being present”, the patchwork-centric collection highlighted a pervasive element of tactility by transforming classic codes of Christian Dior to create a visual impact that was as strong to digital viewers as they were to IRL guests.
For the Maison’s first physical couture presentation since the pandemic, Chiuri commissioned French artist Eva Jospin to create a 350-metre-long embroidery. Entitled ‘Chambre de Soie’, the intricate landscape work covered the walls of a resplendent room inside Paris’ Rodin Museum where the new collection was shown with an accompanying livestream. Handcrafted by students of the Chanakya School of Craft in Mumbai, India, the show decor featured complex threads of interweaving trees, imbuing the venue with a warm glow through opulent autumn shades. Similar colours were reflected throughout the incoming runway designs.
Tweed and plaid were abound, showing up most prominently through forms of enveloping outerwear that included capes, robes and belted trenches––some with popped collars for added flair––in addition to iterations of the Maison’s iconic Bar jacket. Floral brocades added an ornate touch to some ensembles while flowing skirts and dresses, both mid-length and floor-grazing, were dreamily romantic in loose pleats and sheaths of sheer chiffon.
Cinched at the waist, silhouettes were mostly flared and fluid in movement with textural additions of delicately knitted fishnets and feathered trims. Topped off with woollen riding hats, looks were almost Victorian in style, turning models into elegant equestrians striding in square formation.
The finale induced a raised flurry of phone-grasping hands as a flower-veiled bride stepped out in a sage cowl-neck dress fit for a forest nymph. Covered in layers of fabric foliage and feathers, she closed the show with an elegant train trailing behind her as the front row rushed to capture the moment in motion.
As the cast reemerged for the last lineup, Kate Bush’s 70s hit single ‘Wuthering Heights’ came on to set the final stage as seen in first-hand clips uploaded on social media. With references to the Yorkshire moors in Emily Bronte’s book of the same name, the singer crooned on about spiritual love in haunting vocals, filling the room with an intensity of emotions as Chiuri stepped out to an applauding audience.
See every look from the new collection here.
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