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Maria Grazia Chiuri has put female creativity and empowerment at the heart of her Dior, and thanks to the flexibility of the digital show calendar, changed the date of her show to unveil it on International Women’s Day. She teased the collection with animated shorts by five female artists, each sharing their interpretation of femininity. Chiuri joined that conversation with her AW21 collection, which riffed on fairy tales - not the sickly-sweet versions, but the darker, more complex narratives of peril and triumph, that push beyond the stereotype.

Filmed in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, Chiuri’s movie, Disturbing Beauty, had a chorus of dancers interacting with Silvia Giambrone mirror-shaped artworks which bristled with dangerous spines. It had the atmosphere of a surrealist fever dream rather than a happy-ever-after Disney adaptation.

The clothes swung between the pragmatic and the grand. The iconic Bar jacket came with a hood (a morphing of Little Red Riding Hood and everyone’s favourite lockdown uniform), whilst roomy coats were quilted to match the Miss Dior bag. Sugar sweet femininity? Don’t be fooled. Schoolgirl pinafores came in black leather Broderie Anglaise and intense head-to-toe red rose prints threatened to overload the senses.

The most seductive moments came at the end. The show featured spectacular, pleated-chiffon ball gowns that would have made Cinderella swoon. The finale dress, a Queen of Hearts, red gown with a heart-shaped bustier took us from Versailles to Wonderland. The moral of the story? Our relationship with the looking comes with both perils and pleasures.

Watch the fabulous making of the Dior show choreography here: