The story of Red Riding Hood may be a children's story, but it's a dark one filled with suspense and danger. This and other fairytales served as the starting point for creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri when designing Dior's Fall/Winter 2021 collection. Chiuri is known for her heavy use of symbolism and feminist overtones season after season — incorporating them both literally and figuratively. For fall, she explored the archetypes of classic stories, revisiting and reinventing them for the modern Dior woman dressed in the brand's iconic bar jacket or a cascading gown.
The season explores the more overt riffs on the theme — school girl pinafores with a dark twist, short skirts, and leather minidresses were sprinkled throughout the collection. But, as mentioned by the show notes, there were also more nuanced nods to the characters of classic fairytales, the red cape, the reimagined uniform of the toy soldier, the swirling party dress of Belle or Cinderella. But, where the traditional flow of these stories leave women waiting to be saved from danger, Chirui's interpretation offers women who are ready to take on the world.
The inclusion of two-tone lace-up boots, aviator caps, and even jeans suggests a more modern woman fighting to break past the traditional damsel in distress. This is clothing meant for a person capable of saving herself, who can run from danger and throw a few punches herself.
To present the new collection, Dior debuted a film that touches on the dark, romantic mood of the collection. It shows a group of barely dressed dancers moving through the dark halls of Versailles where the models also also make their debut — walking one-by-one, lit by moonlight.
The collection was punctuated by a number of trends that have popped up throughout the season — sleek leopard print, metallic separates in a blazing gold sheen, and gauzy high-volume gowns. But, in typical Dior fashion, the house's takes are unapologetically romantic and feminine, even when there's a dark edge being offered.
Although fairytales typically serve as an escape — something much needed after navigating the reality of the last year — the Chiuri take is one that grounds the magic and symbolism of these stories in a reality where the return of dressing up may not be too far away.
Experience the edgy yet magical looks for yourself ahead.