Dior’s creative director has always regarded fashion as something more than the catwalk. Maria Grazia Chiuri believes that fashion is all about the world stage.
During the Paris haute couture week, Chiuri walked on the stage twice. The first time was to take a bow at the end of her haute couture show, and the second was to receive France’s highest honor, the Légion d’honneur.
Chiuri was given the title as a recognition of how she, the first woman to direct Dior, has revived the French society by integrating feminism instead of femininity.
A very emotional Chiuri was astonished by the award. Being an Italian who works and lives in France, never in her dreams did she expect to receive the country’s highest honor by doing her craft.
The award justifies the creative director’s decision to spread out from her path as a fashion designer. Under her direction, Dior has become more about women empowerment and has clearly defined cultural appropriation from cultural exchange.
During Chiuri’s debut show as Dior’s creative director, she made history with her slogan shirts that carried the words of Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “We should all be feminists.”
Her latest collection commenced with a white draped dress that had the slogan “Are Clothes Modern?”. The motto was the title of the book that Bernard Rudofsky presented in 1944 at Manhattan’s Museum of Modern Art.
The book not only discusses fashion not only in the light of creativity but also in alignment with human life. Chiura recommends the book to young designers, which she wish she read earlier.
Chiuri says that the human body’s proportion is the criterion of fashion and architecture, which is why the collection, which mostly showed Dior’s trademark corset tops and full skirts, was all black.
Chiuri admits she grew up in the era where people adored anything black.
Modernity was incorporated in the collection by making the models wear flat sandals and culottes that looked like long skirts.
But no matter how the creative director tried to emphasize feminism, the overall vibe of the haute couture is far from female empowerment and more of pampering women.
Similarly, while the show featured women of a different color, the representation of various body shapes was neglected. It was still the models with the stereotypical body shapes who graced the catwalk.
Artist Penny Slinger who worked with Chiuri on the dollhouse dress that was the final look for the show came to Chiuri’s defense. The artist believes that Chiuri brought feminism to an arena where it initially non-existent.