IN A specially constructed box, in the gardens of Musée Rodin, Maria Grazia Chiuri presented her AW21 couture collection for Dior, marking the house’s first runway with a live audience since February 2020.
After months of presenting collections through film, this season was a welcome return to in-person viewing, re-establishing the connection between human and fabric that is so intrinsic to the craft of haute couture.
For Dior, this season, in particular, was brimming with exquisite embroidery and decorative embellishments to appreciate. Presented against a vast hand-embroidered landscape created by French textile artist Eva Jospin, reminiscent of a salon in Rome’s Palazzo Colonna inspired by Indian textile, the collection took inspiration from the 2019 book Threads of Life* – an economic and cultural history of embroidery by needlework artist and curator Clare Hunter.
After a thorough analysis of its pages, Chuiri experimented with checks, tweeds and hand-woven pleating, warping and contouring silhouettes to astonishing effect. Most notably, the House’s signature Bar jacket came rendered in cashmere, or paired with high-waisted ballerina skirts in tweed that appeared sculptural yet light and effortless.
In typical Chiuri fashion, the show concluded with the real showstoppers: airy evening dresses with breathtaking braiding and plissé detailing, imagined in powder blue or a soft nude, colours dear to founder Monsieur Dior.
The final look, a magnificent fern-green floor-length gown, complete with dreamy floral hand-embroidery and a sweeping train, marked the end of an exceptional festival of craftsmanship and left a lasting reminder of the true sensorial power of the hand-spun.