Photo © Laura Sciacovelli for Dior
Each Maria Grazia Chiuri collection is designed to open up room for the inventive imagination. For this Dior spring- summer 2023 ready-to-wear défilé, the Creative Director of Dior women’s lines notably uses the image of a map of Paris from the House’s archives, printed on a scarf and structured around the Avenue Montaigne*. Thus she traces her own path, between autobiography and reflection. Then comes the Tuileries Garden, which was commissioned by Catherine de Medici. An Italian who arrived at the French court in 1533, this noblewoman remains a figure emblematic of the relationship between women and power, and fascinates Maria Grazia Chiuri because of her political intelligence, but also the innovations she launched, such as heels, the corset, and Burano lace, introduced to the royal manufactures.
Women know how to explore magical territories since they have a privileged connection with nature and its vital force. They listen to the turmoil that often traverses them. That most secret realm, at once in the shadows and marvelous, is like the baroque caves that inspired the artist Eva Jospin for the decor she dreamed up for this show in the heart of the Jardin des Tuileries.
Noncompliant with predetermined existences, women are capable of exercising power in many ways, including by escaping through the mind. The power of fashion becomes the power of women, a form of awareness that draws on this attraction to the outside world, to what lies beyond perception, knowledge and common experience. Fashion dialogues with reality through artifice; the garments of the Court are transformed. Maria Grazia Chiuri updates the corset by giving it a quasi-geometric shape that frames the bust. Thus, the guêpière, sometimes hidden, sometimes visible, outlines a silhouette reminiscent of the wide skirts worn at the court of Catherine de Medici. An ancestral tradition, raffia coats adorned with floral and bird motifs, that is also revisited with Dior’s creativity and contemporary expertise.
This collection pays homage to fashion as an art of invention, able to redefine the city of Paris over and over again, each and every time, allowing the multiple facets of its history to live on. Fashion as an urban concept, a showcase of clothes that color the spaces of our time; the city as a backdrop for the material and immaterial imagination of fashion and beyond. The map as a means of staging a city, of expressing the cultural complexity of our era, celebrating the power of the women who navigate it daily.
*This Dior scarf was created in the early 1950s.
A UNIQUE ARTISANAL DIALOGUE
For the Dior spring-summer 2023 ready-to-wear collection, Maria Grazia Chiuri joined forces with Tassinari & Chatel by Lelièvre Paris, a house that has passed on exquisite savoir-faire for centuries, a jewel of French heritage, which created two enchanting patterns featured in the show.
The Creative Director of Dior women’s lines explored the precious archives of the historic manufacturer and selected these two designs, entitled Semé de fleurs and Oiseau de Paradis, to represent fascinating nature, one of this season’s key inspirations. The handcrafted works, emblematic of new trends that emerged in the 19th century, were originally commissioned by the great decorator Monsieur Despréaux de Saint-Sauveur, who notably worked for Emperor Napoleon III.
The silk weavers manufacture Tassinari & Chatel by Lelièvre Paris*, one of the oldest institutions of Lyon, the cradle of exceptional French craftsmanship, set the standard of excellence in its field from its foundation in 1680 with the Pernon atelier.
Combining audacity and inventiveness, this family firm has deployed constant technical innovation while multiplying collaborations with renowned artists and decorators throughout the ages. It has thus seduced the most influential figures in history, becoming the official supplier of the greatest courts of Europe, such as that of King Louis XV and of Napoleon I, producing sublime creations for Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette in the Palaces of Versailles, Compiègne and Saint-Cloud. In 1806, it was with Tassinari & Chatel that Joseph Marie Jacquard perfected the weaving machine to which he would give his name. Two hundred years later, in 2006, it was one of the first enterprises to obtain the precious EPV (Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant) label. For more than three centuries, Tassinari & Chatel has amassed and preserved nearly one hundred thousand archives. This unequalled legacy is a celebration of the virtuosity of the hand and the plural beauty of fabric so dear to the House of Dior.
*Admiring this exceptional patrimony, the Maison Lelièvre Paris sealed a decisive move in 1998 when it acquired Tassinari & Chatel, which owes its reputation to its extraordinary and long-standing expertise in the production of silk fabrics, combining traditional craftsmanship with technological innovation. Since 1945, the manufacturer has restored a number of prestigious interiors, from Versailles to the Elysée Palace or even Fontainebleau, with the mottled velvet of Napoleon’s bedroom. Without forgetting, in the 19th century, its emblematic creations for the National Palaces such as the Tuileries, contributing to its international renown.
The unveiling of the Dior spring-summer 2023 ready-to-wear collection is for Maria Grazia Chiuri the opportunity to create collective energy thanks to the contributions of various committed artists in such a way that the public can feel involved and become protagonists themselves.
For the show, she thus gave carte blanche to Eva Jospin – with whom she had already collaborated on the Dior autumn-winter 2021-2022 haute couture show – to imagine a baroque grotto made of cardboard, a key element for the artist, an essential object of her research.
The Buttes Chaumont grotto in Paris, the Villa Borromeo Visconti Litta in Lombardy, and the frescoes of the Palazzina Cinese in Palermo provided Eva Jospin with inspiration for this inventive installation that recreates the real through artifice.
Grottos and caves are architecture carved into rock, changing over time, characterized by the progression of nature, the metamorphosis of encrusted shells. Gallery, forest, cave: the artist’s universe explores interiority, mystery, with those energies that constitute a fundamental component of femininity. A three-dimensional work that then takes on a two-dimensional form on panels and canvases adorned with arches, ruins and vegetation-covered walls.
It is in this setting that the Dutch choreographers and dancers Imre and Marne van Opstal, a creative duo uniting a sister and a brother, evolve, exploring the human condition, the limits and the possibilities of body and mind through a multi-layered and often surreal dance. For this show, which Maria Grazia Chiuri describes as a collective collaboration born of the meeting of different projects and languages, they have imagined a performance reminiscent of the Renaissance, reinterpreting it in the sense, precisely, of a veritable rebirth. The dancers move in harmony with the collection: the sculptural bodies shift like statues, brought to light by Maria Grazia Chiuri’s models. Plaster, marble, and stone are animated by movements evoking a classical language but imbued with a resolutely contemporary impetus.