Just a few months ago, we stood as distant observers of the Dior Cruise 2024 show, watching as the historic halls of the Antiguo Colegio de San Ildenfonso pulsed with the energy of Frida Kahlo’s spirit. In the unscripted theatre of the runway, we, the silent spectators, soaked in the quintessence of this Mexican savoir-faire, attempting to decipher every nuance, clinging to the minutest details disclosed. Even so, it now appears a shift in perspective has taken place. We find ourselves no longer distant spectators but immersed participants, plunging into the depths of an illuminating hour-long behind-the-scenes documentary, titled Dior Metamorphosis.
“To me, it was very important to have the show in a place that was in some way linked to Frida Kahlo. And this place is tied to her. It is here she found Diego Riviera, it is here she went to school. I think she is the most famous artist in the world,” says Maria Grazia Chiuri.
The film retraces the entire artistic process behind this interlaced influence of Parisian couture with the ancestral technique of indigenous societies. Maria Grazia Chiuri, the Creative Director of Dior, collaborated with curator Circe Henestrosa, an authority on Frida Kahlo. Together, they gathered artisans from different native groups, carving a path that spans from Oaxaca to Puebla, where cultural heritage met contemporary elegance.
The film vividly illustrates Chiuri’s quest for adept artisans, with a significant focus on the skilled women of Oaxaca – embroiderers, weavers, silversmiths. As we listen intently, our eyes peeled wide, the artisans eloquently explain the pieces of the collection, revealing the history interlaced within each stitch: “Normally, huipils translate history – the memory of how the decorative figures of the huipil began. Here, we can see a snake’s path and what it’s carrying. There are treasures we can’t take, because they are not ours; they are from supernatural beings that take care of the face of the earth,” says Pedro Meza, founder of the house of the ‘Mayan weaver’ as well as the weaver and project coordinator of this collection.
In a break from tradition, the documentary thrusts the women at the forefront, depicting them as ardent custodians of their cultural heritage. Each woman, carrying forward traditions passed down through generations, speaks of her artistry with pride and genuine devotion. Chiuri’s mission stands clear: to elevate the work of these women, ensuring it is acknowledged for its cultural significance.
At the core of this documentary lies, of course, Frida Kahlo. They speak of her resilience and creativity, the struggles she’s underwent, and how these experiences, in turn, have turned her into “the most famous artist in the world.” “The Tehuana dress has a very particular construction, aside from coming from matriarchy, repesenting Mexicanness, all the ornamentation is concentrated from the torso up. You have the headdresses and all the necklaces here (motions to chest), it means Frida allowed the viewer to see her from the torso up, distracting them from the rest of her broken body inside,” says Circe Henestrosa.
The climax of the film is the Cruise 2024 show itself, one we all wished to see beyond our screens, as a surge of vitality breathes into every piece. Dior Metamorphosis has premiered on the 6th of December and can be found on the Dior website and YouTube.