V News: Her Dior
Maria Grazia Chiuri explains Dior’s latest creation–although not from the atelier, this release is definitely the season’s must-read.
Since her 2016 appointment as Dior’s Creative Director, the collections of Maria Grazia Chiuri have held up a mirror to the dualism of womanhood today. Her creations for the 74-year-old french luxury house have a social conscience and unbound verve. From reimagined takes on the working women’s power-suit to extravagant, feathered couture gowns and everything in between, she is turning a “man’s world” into her playground—one seam at a time. Now chronicling every milestone of her reign at Dior in the new fashion tome entitled Her Dior: Maria Grazia Chiuri’s New Voice, Chiuri debuts a series of dazzling images celebrating 33 female collaborators who have aided in her evolution of the formerly male-led brand’s DNA. The hardbound book is an ode to self-affirmation and the beauty of cultures and couture that not only delivers a snapshot of Chiuri’s five years at the helm of the French maison but also its future—ultimately materializing her manifesto of fashion for women, by women.
V: What was your main goal when publishing this book? How did this project come about? How long did it take to complete the book?
Maria Grazia Chiuri: The idea was to create a chronology of the most important shots taken by the many female photographers I have collaborated with over my years as Creative Director, in order to have a sort of roadmap of the different viewpoints the collections expressed. I commissioned women photographers because I wanted a female look into the differing ideas of femininity. This allowed different insights into the representation of women in relation to feminism, which is the foundation of my project and of Dior’s identity today. The book is a living entity: it seemed to be constantly growing on its own, becoming richer with visions and definitions of ideas that turned into images. The perceptions included were not only those of the photographers but also of the models displaying the fashion and making it an experience that is worn and lived. I’m certain that the photos in this book express an idea of a sisterhood that is creative and aware of its strength and special beauty.
V: How did you go about selecting this group of female collaborators?
MGC: The photographers in the book have all worked with me over the last few years—I prefer to think of it as a research project rather than a selection for the book. They are diverse talents with different training, backgrounds and styles creating a polyphonic work of voices in perfect harmony.
V: The book’s cover is the “We Should All Be Feminists” T-shirt from your first collection. What is the significance of that runway show, and how has it shaped your work today?
MGC: I chose to use [the] Brigitte Niedermair photograph because that T-shirt became the icon of my first Dior collection. It is a symbol of the path I set out on as Creative Director of the House. I love that image, as it takes a piece of clothing and turns it into a totem, lifting up its message, exalting it, and making it timeless. I consider my first Dior collection to be the start of a journey; the first meeting between the codes of a brand with such an important history and the place where my own personal vocabulary was developed. It brings an idea of activism to fashion, which is needed now more than ever. This is what continues to orient and instruct not only my work, but also my whole way of life.
V: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s essay from We Should All Be Feminists is prominent throughout the book. What draws you to her writing?
MGC: With decisive and skillful grace, she updates the definition of feminism and brings it in line with our current era. I was particularly taken by her thoughts on fashion: Adichie takes pleasure in how she dresses, just like any woman or man can, and has no qualms about admitting her love for fashion while also defending it as a right. She considers fashion something fun, a beautiful, almost therapeutic game through which you can find yourself. She is a model who shows young women that they can be whatever they want without giving up caring for themselves and their image, if that’s what they enjoy.
V: Having been the Creative Director at Dior for four years now, what legacy do you hope to leave on the brand?
MGC: I can’t predict the future. I prefer to keep working passionately and consciously to ensure that the House is recognized as a symbol of evolving, modern, self-aware femininity. I hope that my work expands the codes that define Dior’s identity in a way that allows my successor to keep building on what I have done.
Her Dior is available for purchase today at Dior.com
Her Dior: Maria Grazia Chiuri’s New Voice—Written by Maria Grazia Chiuri,
Text by Maria Luisa Frisa available March 2021.