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With an impressive stained glass-looking art installation by pioneer feminist artist Lucia Marcucci as the backdrop, and with the all-female group Roseblood performing Sangu di Rose (a 19th-century piece in which women sing about their newfound lack of limitation after their husbands have been sent to prison), Dior took us to fashion church yesterday with its Spring/Summer 2021 presentation. The new collection by Maria Grazia Chiuri was again underlined by her feminist approach, which puts women front and centre. This time, it was about feeling free and comfortable in your own skin (and clothes, obviously).

After spending almost the first half of the year in lockdown, we’ve all questioned the role that fashion plays in our lives – especially as many still work from home and feel comfortable enough wearing pyjamas. As Maria Grazia explained prior to the presentation: “We had to approach this collection with an idea more of design. We are living in a different way and staying more at home within our intimacy. Our clothes have to reflect this new style of life.”

So how has she translated the feeling of comfort and cosiness into the 86 looks she sent down the runway? By adapting Dior’s characteristic stiff, rigid silhouette to our current times and needs. For example, the famous Bar jacket, one of the House’s most emblematic pieces, is transformed in a reinterpretation of Fall/Winter 1957 silhouettes created for Japan – the Nippon influence is also present in the traditional indigo tie-dye technique in both jackets and trousers. Chiuri also welcomes the new normality with a ‘new uniform’ composed of wide pants and a timeless staple, the white shirt, which she elongates into tunics.

Pairing comfort and a more loose fit – although staying true to the Maison’s hourglass silhouette – with luxury and craftsmanship, Maria Grazia has put a lot of attention onto the fabrics and prints: from flowy transparent organzas to rich, multicoloured paisleys, to intricate laces, stripes, and floral motifs, the choice of materials proves once again why Dior is at the cusp of the fashion system.

After such a turbulent year, we’re more aware of how liquid and ever-changing reality is. So where will we be in the next few months? Where is humanity heading? Will working from home become the norm? How will the new normality evolve? Only time will tell. In the meantime, we can at least dream of how we’ll be dressed.

David Valero

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