Maria Grazia Chiuri explored uniforms from Dior’s pre-fall collection – WWD

As a formative experience for a creative director in a heritage house, having to wear a school uniform seems like valuable training: it’s about learning first-hand how to be creative in a setting.

Growing up in Rome during the tumultuous and violent years of the lead, Maria Grazia Chiuri was sent to a Catholic school to complete her education, years spent pulling on her school uniform and trying to make the blazer shorter and more flattering.

She made the gesture of wrapping a hem around her waist when previewing Dior’s dashing and diverse pre-fall collection; crisp and childish at times, sparkling and flamboyant at others.

The designer had a second mission with this collection: to prove that the founder Christian Dior, often stereotyped for his New Look pinched waist, fan-shaped skirt and his Bar jacket with king pins – the Dior “uniform” if you will – has created a multitude of silhouettes. , pushing the boundaries of what is considered feminine.

She took as a starting point the new book by Justine Picardie, “Miss Dior: Une histoire de courage et de couture”, which highlighted her younger sister and confidante Catherine, a French resistance fighter and passionate gardener who greatly influenced the her brother’s fashion and perfumes.

Chiuri also looked at other influential and unconventional women in Dior’s inner circle, including the extravagant and glamorous Mitzah Bricard, which was practically synonymous with leopard prints, veiled hats, hearty jewelry, and Marguerite Carré, a technical genius who helped decipher the founder’s sketches and turn them into coveted clothing.

“A multiplicity of femininity,” Chiuri said, pointing to a photo on his mood board of the female collaborators closest to Dior and the couture seamstresses swarming around him after one of his first catwalks. “All these very strong women who supported him inside the studio made the Dior house so strong and so powerful.”

Chiuri found a symbol of this brotherhood in the archives: a heraldic emblem that the Dior family had used on jute bags for their fertilizer business: “Unity is strength” or “Strength through unity” in English.

She splashed this vintage logo on the bold yellow throws which, along with spider web knits, biker jackets, kilts and heavy boots, fueled the punk energy that ran through her various versions of the uniform clothing. .

Hearing Chiuri talk about her personal relationship with her clothes explains a lot about the pre-fall collection, vast in its daywear offering, with a concise proposal for evening wear, mostly in vaporous black fabrics, as well as dress items. like fil coupé blouses and a brocade pencil. skirts.

“On the one hand, I’m a collector, and on the other, I have clothes that are like my constant companions,” she said, recounting things like her Bar jackets and her boyfriend from his first Dior collections, his cargo pants, cashmere sweaters, a “safety dress” for special occasions and his essential black tuxedo.

“My wardrobe is not that big,” she said. “I have very specific pieces that stay in my wardrobe for a long time.

But don’t expect her to be able to tell you ahead of time what she might wear for a specific event, suggesting that instincts and self-expression are always stronger than any uniform. . “It’s about the time,” she said.

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