Early this evening in Paris, not long after Christian Dior’s second haute couture show of the day, friends, family, and colleagues of creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri including Valentino Garavani, Alber Elbaz, and Bianca Jagger gathered at the house’s Avenue Montaigne headquarters for a reception in her honor. Marlène Schiappa, the Secretary of Equality between men and women was on hand to present Chiuri with the French Legion d’honneur.
Chiuri is the first woman creative director at the house of Dior, a fact the Secretary was quick to point out in her 10-minute speech. Schiappa is also a writer and she had clearly done her research. She knew, for instance, that Chiuri’s favorite Tarot card is the “Mort” card (Death card) because “she understands that it represents change.” Schiappa also spoke eloquently and passionately about Chiuri’s feminism.
The designer had words of thanks for many, from her fashion mentors to LVMH’s Bernard Arnault, Sidney Toledano, and Pietro Beccari to her husband and children to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie whose words “We Should All Be Feminists” appeared in the designer’s first collection for Christian Dior.
Chiuri related her advice for young women worried about their future and wondering how to combine their personal and professional passions. “I would like to send them a message,” she said, “to believe in themselves and follow their instincts.” And she also shared a sort of personal manifesto: “Dior is a maison that represents femininity and for this reason I believe that my commitment is to make women aware of their potential, and I thank the maison that supports me and gives a voice to women and their work. Their commitment can change the world.”
At the end of Chiuri’s haute couture show earlier in the afternoon, Ngozi Adichie had her own words of praise for the designer. “I love her confidence.”
Originally published on Vogue US