Several years into the job at Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri has made clear that she is most interested in feminism above all else. She regularly commissions artworks by feminist artists for her set pieces and creates wearable collections for real-life women. It has been a huge component of her success at the brand.
The Fall 2020 show was no different. Showgoers were greeted with giant illuminated signs by the artist Claire Fontaine which read things like, “We Are All Clitoridean Women,” “Patriarchy = Climate Emergency” and “Women’s Love Is Unpaid Labor.” (The centerpiece was the word “Consent” repeated in the traffic light colors of green, yellow and red above the runway.) The models walked on a version of her work “Newsfloor,” which was reconstructed for Dior with pages from the French newspaper Le Monde. In addition to being inspired by these works, Chiuri also mined from her own teenage diary, noting other artists who she admires.
This translated into Chiuri’s latest take on the Bar suit, sharply-cut over kick flare pants, as well as menswear-inspired fabrics, like houndstooth and checks. Button-downs came complete with cropped ties, sometimes under groovy suiting. Many models wore scarves wrapped around their heads, adding to the ’70s feel of the collection. The shoes were pleasantly practical: flat boots or the baby Mary Jane heels that the brand has made a staple.
But if one is going to build a brand’s image on the foundations of feminism, as Chiuri has done at Dior, it’s hard to overlook how the messaging feels at odds with the casting, when the models wearing the clothes on the runway look mostly the same. The patriarchy has dictated a body ideal for women, and it would be nice to see Chiuri use her work to challenge that by bringing people of different body types and ages into the fold. A plus-size model on the Paris Fashion Week runway can be just as compelling as — and perhaps more revolutionary and impactful than — spotlighting and collaborating with feminist artists.
These are clothes women will want to wear. Chiuri should expand her vision to include all women, not just those who fit a sample size.
See every look from the Dior Fall 2020 collection in the gallery below.