Maria GraziaChiuri’s work at Dior is often a direct response to those that believe fashion and politics don’t mix-she strongly believes they do. Since her first collection as a creative director for the luxury megabrand, she has used the runway as the perfect canvas to address inequalities and challenges that women face in a largely patriarchal society. This message was further amplified in the Dior Fall/Winter 2020-21 runway show –staged in the heart of the Jardin des Tuileries.

For the show, Chiuri invited another woman feminist artist, the Claire Fontaine collective who designed the 1,000 m2 scenography that featured the 15 light panels addressing women’s issues and denouncing inequality and sexism. For her, patriarchy equals climate emergency and women’s love is unpaid labor-it’s all a matter of how you address those social emergencies. Featuring a celebrity stashed front-row with the likes of Demi Moore, Cara Delevingn, Nina Dobrev and Carla Bruni, the show was an ode to womanhood and to the optimism of the 70s.

With a strong reference to her own teenage references, the collection oozed a serious old-school vibe, with plaids and Mary Jane’s mixing with fishnets, pirate scarves, and Dior logo-ed bandanas. We saw reworked little black dresses, tailored suits in a combination of plaids and sheer shirts and dresses that could be worn well as statement pieces off the runway. There was also the occasional Dior slogan T-shirt, this time reading  “I Say I”, a quote in direct reference to an upcoming Dior-sponsored exhibit of Italian women artists, about to debut at Rome’s National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art.

Politics apart, this was an interesting collection-still one doesn’t fail to wonder about the Dior-DNA references. Yes, there was an excellent sparking chemise-dress, an impressive velvet coat and some reworked statement whites that looked luxurious. Chiuri is putting effort into redefining the Dior codes for a Millennial and Gen Z clientele; still, we can help but think if this is actually the right way to do so. Only sales-and time-will tell.