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Maria Grazia Chiuri uses Dior’s globe-trotting Cruise shows to explore deep relationships with local craftspeople artists and performers. This year, her show, held at the historic Plaza de Espana in Seville was an opportunity to work with some of Spain’s finest embroiderers and artisans. For many, the collaboration with Dior was their debut in fashion as they usually work only on church regalia and alter ornaments. “It’s haute couture,” said Chiuri of the level of artisanship she tapped into.

They created beautiful hardware, metallic embroideries and lace that gave the show an authentic Spanish feel. This rich tapestry of collaborators allowed Chiuri to muse on her idea of Mediterranean women – their strength and femininity.

Her show began with a female flamenco artist dressed in a man’s suit – a tribute to La Capitana, the name given to Carmen Amaya who was the first female flamenco dancer to wear men’s clothes, in the 1950s. Also on her inspiration board was the mid-century socialite the Duchess of Alba as well as paintings by Goya and Velasquez. Chiuri distilled it all into refined looks.

Tailoring referenced boxy Spanish riding school silhouettes, high waited matador looks were lavished with lace embroidery and models draped themselves in lusciously fringed Manila shawls and wore wide-brimmed boaters designed by Stephen Jones. For evening, grand, flamenco-frilled taffeta gowns and ball skirts provided all the drama passion and flounce a girl could want.

Chiuri believes that as well as enriching the creative conversation, cross-cultural exchange and collaboration is more important than ever. “When people are becoming more nationalistic, we need to build bridges with fashion.”

Photography courtesy of Dior.