THERE is always more to things than what meets the eye. Especially with clothes. This is what creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri wanted to explore for Dior’s spring-summer 2022 couture collection.
The designer wanted to take the opportunity to showcase the beauty in relationships by looking into the walls of their atelier and honouring the universal connection between humans and their handmade objects.
Described in the show notes as “a living organ where savoir-faire and savoir-être meet and evolve”, the spotlight shifted to the sometimes forgotten talent that lies behind garments.
Endless hours are spent sculpting materials into gowns and threading embroidery onto precious fabrics infusing a decadent nature into delicate designs, and this collection took a moment to appreciate the details.
The creative dialogue stemmed beyond the Parisian office doors and into the country of India. Bringing on board artists Madhvi and Manu Parekh, the objective of this collaboration of sorts was to look at how femininity and masculinity can compliment one another.
On the one side, Madhvi uses her art as an escape from reality, painting an imaginary world which links the real with the surreal as energy, power and dynamism walk hand-in-hand, whereas on the other, Manu invites you to explore mental landscapes and spiritual abstractions.
Brought to life by the Chanakya ateliers and the Chanakya School of Craft in Mumbai, the walls surrounding the runway were composed of the bold graphic art from the two artists work through the language of embroidery reaffirming the abolition of boundary between art and artist.
Beside the walls, the SS22 couture collection was built purely on the notion of looking at craftsmanship foregoing any thematic reference. Speaking volumes of appreciation for her team, the colour palette remained muted maintaining a conservative tone as black, grey and white dominated full looks.
Silhouettes were well-thought after as pieces were chosen to be a canvas for techniques, from a grisaille-bedecked ecru suit and a series of draped, highly decorative leotards to a cashmere cape stitched together at the seams with embroidery.
The often-forgotten hosiery was given a moment to shine, as tights were painted with crystals directing the eye to watch the glittering movement of the lower body.
The Dior evening-wear echoed the same formal sensibility as the intended daywear, however a slight shift in elegance was noticed as Chiuri’s Italian heritage slipped into designs.
Backless cowled dresses in lamé muslin, netted tonal dresses and a long silk halterneck dress instilled a somewhat religious narrative as the models mimicked angels-like figures as the collection came to an end.
By pressing pause on contemporary references from afar, Maria Grazia Chiuri successfully made her audience appreciate what is already at our doorstop – or in this case, the Parisian ateliers. Sometimes togetherness is as simple as taking a break to celebrate those closest to you – a much needed reminder to reevaluate by Dior.
by Imogen Clark