Maria Grazia Chiuri returns to in-person shows with the Christian Dior haute couture collection for autumn and winter 2021-2022. A close look at the beautiful tweeds, embroidery, intricate webs of woven detailing, radiant prints, and the shimmer of metallics reveal true artisans at hand. Pieces constructed to flow but with a sort of attitude we’ve come to love from Chiuri’s vision. Models move and pose with French artist Eva Jospin’s Chambre de Soie as a backdrop to reveal the floor-to-ceiling embroideries that beckon to the Salle aux Broderies found in Rome’s Colonna Palace.
Aptly named “Being Present,” it is a reminder that everything being viewed is not just for pleasure but as “an element connected to the senses of sight and touch.” A primary influence for Chiuri on this collection comes from textile artist and curator Clare Hunter. Her book that speaks on the deep heritage and value of embroidery and weaving (Threads of Life) is something the House explains as Chiuri holding “dear as transmitters of memory and gestures of protection, care, and protest.”
A book we have read ourselves, we are reminded of a specific passage from Threads of Life — A History of the World Through the Eye of a Needle:
“I spent nearly three hours with these needlewomen, trying to enter their world through how they sewed, noting their attention to weight, movement, texture expression, character, emotion, place; trying to understand the choices they made – this pattern, that colour, this stitch – how they made their story tangible, truthful and intimate.”
Those words are how we look at the Chiuri’s world, the hours upon hours, the emotions, everything that went into each haute couture collection; we always wonder what was happening in the ateliers where everyone was painstakingly creating these masterpieces. Traditions are being passed down by hand from teacher to student. It’s a world that we can only imagine—patience and perfection and a will to make illustrations come to life.
“Couture stirs unsuspected desires and reveals the existence of what we did not know,” Dior shares. “Isn’t that the role of the avant-garde? To make visible what one does not see. To define, through artistic practice, the longings of a world in the midst of profound transformation.” These are the reasons why we get so excited to see each new couture collection released. It feels like magic, and it’s always more stunning than we could have ever expected.