You might be fooled into thinking that as last night’s Dior Cruise show, Maria Grazia Chiuri’s first for the house, was held in the vast prairie land of Calabasas, just outside of Los Angeles, this was a collection inspired by America. But you would be wrong. Sort of. Because the collection actually began far away, back in the in the Dior archives in Paris, where Chiuri discovered a 1951 collection based on the prehistoric cave paintings of Lascaux in south west France. Mr Dior had appropriated those incredibly beautiful line drawings of deers, oxen and horses and woven them into his Ovale line – here, Maria Grazia did the same. But what, exactly, did that have to do with California? Excuse for a jolly? No – Maria Grazia Chiuri chose the location because for her, outside of the glam of Hollywood, Los Angeles had this deep connection with nature – she spoke of a shamanistic connection to the world that those paintings first represented. Indeed, as we took our seats in the Bedouin tents where the show took place we were warned not to stray far – there were rattlesnakes and prairie lions lurking beyond. So what did this make Ms Chiuri’s woman? She was feminine, yes – those flyaway embroidered gowns, sheer, nipped in corsets and flashes of underwear that Maria Grazia has made her trademark were here – but this time, her woman was wild, hardy. And that was where America came in – think prairie girl meets Wild West woman – painted suedes, homespun knitted fabrics, slices of fur, heavy flat leather boots. Or the topper hats, which were a spit of the ones worn by artist Georgia O’Keefe. She was on the notes too, and her presence drew it all together – a woman obsessed with the wild nature of new Mexico, who roamed the desert collecting animal carcasses but also fascinated by the delicate, feminine beauty of flowers. Because Maria Grazia, in her short time at the house, has proved that a woman is no one thing. Why should she be? In her Dior, beauty, spirituality and power collide.
by Jack Moss