It was back to business as usual this couture season. Or almost. At the Dior Fall 2021 Couture show, one of the only live shows on schedule, the crowd outside the Musée Rodin was noticeably slimmed down, as was the guest list inside the ephemeral set in the sculpture-speckled gardens. Those inside the venue more than made up for any extra space. The air was abuzz with excitement. Taking their seats in the front row were the likes of Monica Bellucci, Jessica Chastain, Cara Delevingne, and Suki Waterhouse. If the rectangular venue appeared to be missing the jaw-dropping glam that is often associated with a maison like Dior for the occasion of couture, all one had to do was approach the walls to delight in the sheer craftsmanship and the true essence of all that couture holds high.
French artist Eva Jospin provided the backdrop for the show, which was a lifesize embroidery tracing all the walls inspired by the Salle aux Broderies in the Colonna Palace in Rome. The show notes expressed that the creation served as “precious décor for presenting dresses with magnificent pleats, trains, and hand-woven chains that compose patterns on the body in colors dear to Monsieur Dior.” If the opening looks were a series of monochromatic tweeds–bar suits with pleated culottes, patchwork skirts, and organza blouses–as the collection progressed, it eased into the Dior signature of powder blues, nudes, and a forest green dress. Silk gauze dresses with smocked bodices featured braided chains at the back, an opera coat in a patchwork of velvet offered satin floral prints, while other gowns cascaded with tweed feathers in shades of greige. The finale was a haunting long cowl-neck dress with feathers and a gradient veil with foliage effect that carried all the drama of a forest fairy queen draped in couture.
Here, embroidery, fabric, and texture were underscored. A “submersive language” intended to transmit poetic pleasure. Couturiere Maria Grazia Chirui expressed it as a “return to being present.” The shift to tactile in a digital age recalled the precious transition of sight to touch. Chiuri continued that textile artist and curator Clare Hunter’s book Threads of Life played a starring role in this collection; offering “critical awareness to the indispensable value of weaving and embroidery.” Once again, Chiuri shared her stage with female artists, a fil rouge that has become so very Dior.