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Inspired by her youth in Rome in the 1970s, a time of protests and marches – remember the student ‘awakening’ in 1968 –, Maria Grazia Chiuri takes us back to that era in the Dior Fall/Winter 2020 collection, or as the show note reads, “maps out an atlas of emotions through the prism of her teenage diary”. Checks, dots, fishnets, combat boots, message t-shirts and scarves worn as bandanas mirror the typical image of rebelling youth but in a more elevated, refined way.

Chiuri’s new collection has a sort of relaxed, comfortable feeling. Despite opening the show with a tight bar jacket, the rest of the collection features relaxed silhouettes and garments, like denim jackets, wide pants, cosy knitwear, cotton jumpsuits – resembling that of skiing – and flowy skirts. In an almost autobiographical way, the house’s Creative Director remembers her teenage years, when she first discovered feminism, which has had a strong influence both in her life and work. And so have powerful, remarkable women, be it her mother or creative forces like artist Carla Accardi or stylist and fashion designer Germana Marucelli.

As in her previous collections, Maria Grazia has used the runway as a political platform to fight for feminism. This time, she’s collaborated with the anonymous collective Claire Fontaine on a series of neon sculptures of manifesto-like phrases – ‘Consent. Consent. Consent’, ‘Patriarchy = climate emergency’ or ‘When women strike the world stops’, among others –, which quickly flooded Instagram feeds and stories. Also, she took the phrase ‘Io Dico Io’ (translated to ‘I Say I’ in English) to create her now-signature protest t-shirts. The original expression was used by Carla Lonzi, an Italian art critic and writer who was a key figure of the feminist movement in the 1970s and even founded the collective Rivolta Femminile.

But Dior’s Creative Director has drawn inspiration from Monsieur Dior himself too. Always diving into the archives to look for details to bring back to our modern-day times, Chiuri now uses the house’s founder’s The Little Dictionary of Fashion, a volume where he praised the qualities of, among others, checks and dots, to use the prints on both skirts, dresses, shirts, coats, blazers, suits, jumpers – and, naturally, on accessories like Saddle or the Tote Book bags. Still looking at her predecessors, she draws inspiration from Marc Bohan, who took the reigns of the house for more than thirty years. Inspired by an outfit with the motif placed on the bias, she created the structure of the collection’s skirts. Always looking into the future but never forgetting where she comes from, Chiuri delivers another beautiful collection for modern-day women fighting for old-age causes like feminism to finally succeed.

Arnau Salvadó

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