Dior kicked off Paris Fashion Week yesterday with a rare,in-person show. The French fashion label once again showcased its collection in the heart of Jardin des Tuilieres, a breathtaking garden space situated between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde in the French capital. While the venue can normally accomodate more than 1,200 people, this time only 350 seats were installed, each six feet apart from the other in order to satisfy Covid social distancing orders. Over 80 different looks were on display, and the Spring/Summer 2021 collection celebrated the beauty and endurance of modern French culture, even in the midst of a pandemic.
Creative Director Maria Grazia Chiuri took inspiration from Italian art critic Germano Celant—and in particular his famous quote "To cut is to think"—for her season collection. Celant's words points out the need to question the exact language of fashion during these uncertain times. What does fashion mean to people? For Chiuri, its art. The dark venue was lit up with numerous stained-glass windows, reminiscent of the ones found in Gothic cathedrals. A lightbox installation designed by Lucia Marcucci consistsed of images collaged togethered that showcased works from monumental artists, from Giotto to Piero della Francesca, Georges de La Tour, and Claude Monet.
This season's music was embellished not through a soundtrack bumped through speakers but rather a live choir of 12 women. Their musical choice? The vocero—a combination of words and sounds that express the painful mourning for lost loved ones. This type of song is usually associated with funerals, and seemed to reflect the solemness of the year 2020, as well as all of the innocent lives lost due to Covid.
Chiuri brought many Dior silhouettes back to their origins. The structure of the house's classic Bar jacket was transformed to resemble older silhouettes from Christian Dior's Fall/Winter 1957 Japan collection, and its casual, more robe-like style makes it easily adaptable for different body-types. Even while taking inspiration from the past, Chiuri seamlessly infused pieces with a new sense of modernity.
Alongside slingback sandals—which were the real stars of the runway—Chiuri also signalled the return of ballerina slippers. The shoes had their heyday in the early 2000s but were soon considered a fashion faux pas only a few years later. It seems the Italian designer has decided to revitalize this trend of the past for 2021.