Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Surrealist Dior presents a new Theatre de la Mode

Maria Grazia Chiuri unveiled her latest haute couture collection for Christian Dior on Monday afternoon in a remarkably beautiful film that seems destined to become an instant classic work of surrealist cinema.

Shot amid ancient ruins around Rome, and directed by Matteo Garrone, the film starred a series of nymphs, mermaids, fauns and mythological creatures in an elegiac garden, and referenced the "Théâtre de la Mode", when French designers developed miniature mannequins at the end of WW2 and sent them on a tour of Europe and the USA to revive the country's fashion industry.

In Garrone’s film, the reverie of the beautiful sylvan creatures is quietly interrupted by two hotel porters carrying a huge trunk done in the design of Dior’s Paris flagship on Avenue Montaigne. Immediately intrigued, a half-dozen beauties swimming semi-clad underneath an ancient Roman bridge quit their play to discover within the trunk a series of miniature couture creations.

The collection is one of 33 on the official schedule of this July’s Haute Couture week in Paris. However, even just a half-day into this unique couture season – an entirely digital Fashion Week of three days – this Dior oeuvre looks like it is the highlight.

The actual opening image was of the seamstresses – or petit mains – in Dior’s famed atelier back in Paris working on the collection; teasing out the hem of a satin dress with a tiny needle, or gently posing a plissé column over an 18-inch high doll.

Entitled Le Mythe Dior, the 10-minute film recounts how these magical beauties all fall in love with the clothes. Such as when one porter tempts a chiseled jawed beauty out of a giant shell to come and order a ribbed Grecian column dress. The bellhops carefully taking her measurements with tape, to a moody soundtrack by Paolo Buonvino.

“During World War Two artists and couturiers combined to create this theatre of fashion – mini-dolls and costumes built to be sent on a world tour. So, I wanted to transform this concept, this conceit, and express it for today,” explained Chiuri.

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