Maria Grazia Chiuri’s Fall 2021 ready-to-wear collection for Dior looked like something out of a fairytale—albeit a slightly pragmatic fairytale. The collection debuted in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles—the palace best-known for its 17th-century heyday under King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette—Chiuri lining the hall with artworks by the Italian artist Silvia Giambrone, and adding decorative thorns in a nod to Beauty and the Beast.
The clothing itself touched on that same dark romanticism—the show finished with an array of exquisite tulle gowns fit for a princess—but elsewhere we saw military-inspired tailoring, laser-cut leather apron dresses, and sensible shirting. As designers split between those embracing the functional, utilitarian role of fashion, and those embracing its whimsical, fantastical capabilities, Chiuri deftly occupied the middle ground.
In an accompanying dance routine choreographed by Silvia Giambrone, dancers stared longingly at themselves in the gilded ornate mirrors. “It’s as if she advises the young girls on the runway: ‘If you want to build your identity, don’t look yourself in the mirror,’” Chiuri said in a post-show interview. “It’s something we talked about a lot. If you want to concentrate, you can’t look at your reflection.”
This serves as something of an Aesop’s fable in and of itself—after a year spent indoors, our propensity for navel-gazing and unhealthy levels of introspection are at an all-time high. Much like Chiuri’s muses, we should instead look to the future with ambition, resilience, and optimism—and, if you’re lucky, you’ll do it while wearing a particularly chic re-worked Bar jacket.