The invitation to watch the Dior Resort 2020 show announced 20.45 sharp but lo and behold, in fashion, some things never change. After a 15-minute wait of viewing the loop video of the central square of Lecce, Italy, the illuminated signage promoting women’s emancipation was practically memorized: “Be a builder of unguilt,” and, “We rise by lifting others,” or, “She is clothed with strength and dignity.” When, the show did get underway, to the exceptional strains of folkloric Puglian music, it was magnetic enough to have any viewer long to get dressed with strength and dignity and sit down to a plate of orecchiette for good measure. “During this period, I sought to give collective efforts a new dimension,” stated Dior creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri, whose father hails from Puglia. “Despite the disadvantages of distance, bringing a different perspective to our daily lives has given us strength and imagination.”
Without doubt, the Italians gave the French a run for their money with this collection rife with local, ancestral savoir-faire. While the Lecce square was lit up 30,000 colored LED bulbs bulbs–luminarie traditionally used to honor Catholic saints and which took 12 days to assemble–the models’ appeared dressed in silhouettes that suggested an elevated campesina. On closer inspection, one could grasp that there was nothing common or dowdy about this clothing.
Artist Pietro Ruffo imagined a summer landscape, rife with wheat fields and flowers. This untamed scenery is featured on long, light cotton dresses, shirts, and shorts. Meanwhile, symbolic writing, a nod to illustrations featured in the ancient book De Florum Cultura (1638) brings to light five drawings of flowers with adorned with wistful adages such as “Les parfums sont les sentiments des fleurs” (Perfumes are the feelings of flowers).
The collection intends to celebrate the memory, values, culture, and future of exceptional craftsmanship. In an experimental expression of ancestral savoir-faire, fabrics from the Le Costantine Foundation are used for a series of jackets, including the emblematic Bar. The foundation was established to preserve this form of textile design. The motto of this unique place, “Amando e Cantando,” which translates to loving and singing, is woven on the back of skirts. Meanwhile, Italian women and men danced the pizzica Salentina in the square, appearing entirely connected with the past and the present. As for tomorrow, it’s a day that may never come, but in this collection, at the least, one will be dressed for all the joyous possibilities of a new dawn.