Solidarity, femininity, opportunity. Maria Grazia Chuiri stars in the leading role as the first ever female creative director of the distinguished House of Dior in 70 years. The irony of a brand that worships women only recently appointing a female head of designer reveals the pressures of the House over the last few decades.
The current exhibition in Paris at The Musée des Arts Décoratifs envisages opulence and animation, with over 400 dresses lining lavish corridors filled with explosive colours and patterns. Despite the lack of chronology and occasional poor lighting choices, the combination and connection of different collections exhibited shows us how trends within the brand are echoed and reinvented repeatedly throughout the years.
The excitement to showcase Dior’s transition surfaced in the dramatic yet beautiful final hall. The unimaginable sensation in this great hall is one that has to be experienced right in the heart of Paris. The exhibition is filled with rich history, beauty, and awe for the seven masterminds behind the designs, leaving Maria Chuiri with big shoes to fill.
Christian Dior once identified that his intention was to make women not only beautiful but ultimately happier. The previous misguided creative decisions, as some show in the exhibition, have led Maria Chuiri to construct her ideas of focusing on strengthening the femininity of the brand. She is an artist focusing on the desire of women.
The new platform has provided an opportunity for Chuiri to send her message into the art world, the importance of rights and solidarity amongst women. Her bold statement t-shirts combined with her eveningwear showcase her attention to technique and detail whilst sending out a clear message of strength and feminism.
Playing with bright palettes and a continual sense of unlimited elegance, Chuiri continues Dior’s original idea of a ‘flower woman’. Dior was inspired by the tranquility of his gardens, and the ability to use his creative freedom to explore the female form in terms of its beauty.
The appointment of Maria Chuiri, the first female head of the female brand, reminds us of the previous controversial appointment of Gianfranco Ferré in 1989, an Italian designer leading a French House. The pressure to preserve the name of the brand whilst building up an image of female power and solidarity is something that will come easily to Chuiri as it seems she has very similar design philosophies to Christian Dior himself.
After 70 years, the House of Dior seems to be restoring their original trademark values. The exhibition in Paris showcases Chuiri’s already steady ascent into leading the fashion world, and it seems the pressures she faces are not an issue for this creative prodigy.
Words: Holly Black
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