Dior is one of the most important names in fashion, known for its couture legacy and transformative impact on women’s fashion. For SS24, it used its coveted position to tell a powerful story.
Throughout the collection, we saw the history of superstition within the house of Dior explored. Christian Dior himself was incredibly superstitious, carrying an assortment of lucky items with him and making regular appointments with the fortune teller Madame Delahaye, who was a regular confidant of the Dior founder.
Maria Grazia Chiuri is the first female creative director at the helm of Dior, having previously cut her teeth at Fendi and Valentino. She is known for using her position to celebrate women (rightly so), with her 2016 debut featuring the title of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s seminal essay “We Should All Be Feminists” on the opening look.
For SS24, the inspiration was the same with an updated offering. First up, models took to the runway in lace dresses, finished with tasselled ruched detailing extending from the neck. Intricate detailing contrasted with the model’s skin and was finished with solid black seams in a look that turned underwear into outerwear.
With a largely monochrome collection set against a vibrant pink and yellow set, we saw clothing used to unpack gendered codes of dressing. One look paired a boxy double-breasted blazer and skirt with an untucked white shirt to fuse mens and womenswear.
Next, we saw a collared black dress with a deep v-neck worn off the shoulder and paired with ankle-length gladiator sandals, accenting womenswear with a feminine fierceness. Dungaree-style tailoring was worn close to the bust and cut with a low neckline, revealing a white shirt underneath, deconstructing and rebuilding traditional workwear with an elevated and sophisticated edge. White lace dresses were layered with knee-length overcoats and a handbag carried in the same hue, which appeared in contrast to later outfits.
We saw this motif extended as Matrix-inspired looks took the catwalk. Leather overcoats were paired with boots and accessorised with sporty, streamlined sunglasses worn by models with slicked-back hair, further unpicking gendered codes.
Dior tapped artist Elena Bellantoni, whose work was featured in the set, showcasing a series of works titled “Not Her.” Bellantoni is a visual artist who works between Italy and Berlin, where she founded a space for art and investigations in 2008. Her work focuses on the concept of identity and otherness, which she brought to the show.
Chiuri took to Instagram to explain the partnership. “[It] seeks to question the responsibilities of images in creating and enforcing stereotypical narratives around femininity and womanhood. The space of the runway becomes a political one where new forms of activism can take place.”
Bellantoni is a self-described investigator whose work largely explores the body and language. Early advertisements that epitomised early to mid 20th century patriarchal values were seen in the backdrop which included slogans such as, “Save your marriage, iron properly,” with other looks transforming garments traditionally used for women’s work into elegant runway pieces. An apron was worn over a white shirt, featuring a belt across the middle, and paired with iridescent materials to further elevate the piece, in a way to reclaim the garment that had once to restrain women
Unpacking these roles was integral to the collection, with Dior releasing an informative video with anthropologist Michela Zucca Sherwod. We heard the tales of “witches” in alpine communities or women who rebelled against power and had great knowledge of their natural surroundings, which played into unpacking power structures in the collection.
Dior’s latest offering explored the intersection between feminine and masculine dressing in a powerful and poignant display. For SS24, Maria Grazia Chiuri turned the runway into a political rally, weaving political activism into womenswear, nodding to the women who were integral to the initial success of the Dior house.
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