Feminist statements have become the cornerstone of Maria Grazia Chiuri’s collections. A hallmark of her debut collection as Dior’s first female artistic director in 2016 was a plain white T-shirt with the words, “We Should All Be Feminists” written across the chest (later worn by celebrities Rihanna and Natalie Portman—it was a line borrowed by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s book of the same name. The following year, a striped shirt appeared on Dior’s spring 2018 runway that read, “Why have there been no great women?” inspired by historian Linda Nochlin’s 1971 essay. Some say politics and fashion don’t mix but for Chiuri, her dedication to amplifying women’s voices and addressing the inequalities women face daily hasn’t wavered. Dior’s fall 2020 runway show held at Paris Fashion Week earlier today confirmed that.
The inside of Jardin des Tuileries was decorated with a slew of large, colourful signs along the runway including sayings like “Patriarchy Kills Love,” “Women Raise the Uprising,” “We Are All Clitoridian Women”—a nod to Italian art critic and feminist activist Carla Lonzi. They were designed in collaboration with feminist artist Claire Fontaine. But one signage stuck out among the crowd and read “Consent,” a timely message given the fact that disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was convicted of sexual assault and rape less than 24 hours before.
While the show’s messages aimed to reflect the turbulent times we’re living in, the clothes were the product of Chiuri’s deep dive back to her teenage years during the seventies. School-girl plaids were morphed into relaxed tailored suits, while fringes and deep neck dresses walked down the runway in cool-tone neutrals.
Fishnets, Dior logo bandanas, and Mary Jane loafers drove the old-school vibe home and yet another slogan T-shirt made its Dior debut, this time reading, “I Say I” a line culled from an upcoming exhibit of Italian women artists set to debut at Rome’s National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art.