As a designer, Maria Grazia Chiuri has always shown deep respect for kinship and tradition. Remember her debut collection as Dior’s creative director in which she paid homage to not just the brand’s founder, but also every other one of her predecessors? For Dior Resort 2021, it’s her turn to be in the spotlight as she makes both a literal and figurative return to idyllic Puglia in southern Italy.
A touching ode to Puglia’s culture and crafts, Dior Resort 2021 is one of Maria Grazia Chiuri’s most personal collections for the house and – in classic MGC fashion – taps on multiple collaborators to lend a couture touch to lightweight, weekend-ready separates.
It’s where her roots lie – her father was born in the region. Beyond staging the show in the historic city of Lecce in partnership with local cultural institutions such as the over-a-century-old lighting expert Fratelli Parisi though, her celebration of Puglia’s savoir faire permeates her designs.
A series of outerwear including the maison’s signature bar jacket, for example, was crafted using delicate weaves created by the atelier, Le Costantine Foundation. Marilena Sparasci – one of the last remaining embroiders specialising in the meticulous 15th-century technique of creating tombolo lace that’s prevalent in southern Italy – was roped in to work on dresses.
The artist Pietro Ruffo designed floral motifs inspired by Italian botanist Giovanni Battista Ferrari’s 1638 book, De Florum Cultura. Among the local businesses collaborating on Dior Resort 2021: the family- owned Tessitura Calabrese that uses technology and traditional, handweaving techniques to create the likes of lace and linen.
In fact, the house had forged ahead with the collection and presentation despite the mid-year lockdown in Europe because these collaborations had kicked off way before the pandemic. “It was essential for Dior to continue (with them) to support and showcase the virtuosity of these artisans and artists more than ever,” it said in a press release.
Cue one of the slogans incorporated into the luminarie – or illuminated – installations by the Salerno-born artist Marinella Senatore displayed on set: “We rise by lifting others”. Now who votes for Maria for president?
A version of this article first appeared in the Dec 2020 Be Yourself edition of FEMALE