Maria Grazia Chiuri unveiled her latest haute couture collection for Christian Dior on Monday afternoon, in a strikingly beautiful film, which should enter the pantheon of great classics of surrealist cinema.
The presentation of the Haute Couture Fall-Winter 2020-2021 collection by Dior – Dior
Shot in ancient ruins near Rome, directed by Matteo Garrone, the short film features a tribe of nymphs, mermaids, fauns and mythological creatures wandering in a Garden of Eden crossed by a reissue of the “Théâtre de la Fashion”. At the end of World War II, French couturiers were creating miniature pieces on reduced-size mannequins, then sent on tour in Europe and the United States to revive the fashion industry.
In Matteo Garrone’s film, the reverie of these beautiful forest creatures is disturbed by two hotel doormen walking a huge trunk decorated in the style of the flagship of the venerable house, on avenue Montaigne. Immediately intrigued, the half-naked nymphs swimming under an ancient Roman bridge interrupt their swimming to discover a series of doll-size dresses in the trunk.
This cinematographic gem is one of 33 presentations on the official Haute Couture week calendar. But from the first half-day of this unique Haute Couture Fashion Week – since it is entirely digital – Dior’s proposal may already be the highlight of the event.
The first shots linger on the seamstresses – traditionally nicknamed “little hands” – of the famous Dior workshop in Paris, busy developing the collection, lingering with their fingertips on the hem of a satin dress, or delicately fixing a pleated pan on a small doll.
Entitled The Dior Myth, the ten-minute film describes the infatuation of these charming fairies for these exceptional clothes. In an undergrowth, a deity ventures out of her gigantic shell to order a pleated dress of ancient inspiration. A bell tinkles, and in the following shot, one of the bearers takes the measurements of the nymph using a tape measure, to a dreamlike soundtrack by Paolo Buonvino.
“During WWII, French artists and couturiers teamed up to create this little fashion theater – mini-dolls and their costumes, designed to be sent around the world. I wanted to transform that concept, this form of vanity, and transposing it for our time “, explains Maria Grazia Chiuri.
The designer was also influenced by the “beautiful and inspiring figures” of the surrealist movement: among them, Lee Miller, Dora Maar, Dorothea Tanning, Leonora Carrington and Jacqueline Lamba. True muses in their fields.
“The idea wasn’t to make it look like a classic parade, but rather to tell a story. For me, it’s about capturing the very essence of Rome. And I love the handcrafted way that Matteo Garrone builds his films – following the same approach as I do with fashion “.
The collection of petite dresses is so alluring that even a couple of forest spirits – passionately entwined in a tree trunk – let go of their embrace to let the naiad choose a black dress in lace mesh and camouflage pleats. The clothes are so elegant that they wake up a stone statue, which strokes a sheath dress with envy – and whose white hair is reminiscent of the silver hair of Maria Grazia Chiuri.
You don’t have to be interested in fashion to fall in love with this movie. After the dark days of confinement, it appears as a gift from Dior, generously offered to the whole world. As if to remind us of the importance of putting a little whimsy in our lives.
Born in Rome, Maria Grazia Chiuri spent confinement in her hometown: it was there that she designed this collection and shot this film with Matteo Garrone. The latter is best known for his film Dogman, a dark and creaky tale set against a backdrop of drug trafficking in the underworld, which won the Male Actor award at Cannes in 2018 … light years away from this short film.
But where Dogman depicted the depths of post-industrial Italy, The Dior Myth is imbued with that particular talent that Italian filmmakers have for conjuring up hallucinatory fantasies – one has to imagine a Dream of a summer night staged in the hills overlooking Rome. And on the day of the death of another great Roman, Ennio Morricone, arguably the most famous composer in Italian cinema, Dior’s presentation seemed particularly apt.
Only Narcissus, unable to take his eyes off his own reflection in the river, is not interested in the clothes passing in front of him. A clever feminist commentary on male vanity.
Strolling through a bamboo forest, a red-haired muse skims a flared black pleated silk dress, and turns to ask permission to order the piece from her Pan. An investment that she then celebrates by dancing in a stream, lit by a ray filtering through the trees – an image of rare delicacy, due to the great talent of director of photography Nicolaj Bruel.
“We wanted to create a collection that respects the know-how of sewing and the heritage of Dior. Noble lines and particular silk pleats that maintain the volumes. On the miniature mannequins, we wanted to create complete outfits, from head to toe, “insists Maria Grazia Chiuri.
At the end of the film, even the mermaid has acquired a gray dress, which she wears underwater in a river paved with moss, while on the surface, the nymphs braid the long Venetian blond hair. of their boss, now dressed in a golden satin dress.