Dior's Maria Grazia Chiuri isn't one to shy away from a bold statement. For the designer's inaugural show for the Spring/Summer 2017 season, she debuted T-shirts emblazoned with the phrase "We Should All Be Feminist," proving that she wasn't going to just grin and bear the tension of the bureaucratic status quo. And for Dior's Fall/Winter 2020 runway show during Paris Fashion Week — which took place on Feb. 25, also during an American election year — Chiuri wanted you to know she's still not satisfied.
At the iconic Jardin des Tuileries, show-goers walked past signage at the venue's entrance that read "I Say I," only to then enter a room with illuminated, suspended artworks that read phrases like “Consent,” “Women Raise the Upraising,” “Patriarchy = CO2,” “Patriarchy = Oppression,” “Patriarchy = Climate Emergency,” and “We Are All Clitoridian Women," the last of which references Italian feminist activist Carla Lonzi's 1970s text about women who seek pleasure that is mutually exclusive from that of a man.
"Inspired by emblematic figures of Italian feminist art from the 1960s and 1970s, with the Autumn-Winter 2020-2021 RTW collection, Maria Grazia Chiuri continues her questioning of the multiple and immutable links between the body, feminism, and femininity," read the show notes, which also explained that the signs were created in collaboration with artist collective Claire Fontaine. "Captivated by photos from her teenage years, the Creative Director envisioned an initiatory path to self-assertion through art and fashion. Shaping the clothing, checks and polka dots, long and pleated skirts, and black and white forge a sense of liberation that bridges identity and sisterhood."
Self-assertion, according to the book of Chiuri, doesn't just mean the label's iconic Bar jacket or a Saddle Bag: It also means sheer sleeves layered beneath sweater vests; leather boiler suits and car-wash skirts; cropped puffers; fishnets with everything. It means shirts-and-ties and plunging V-necks and also fringe dresses so sparse that your Dior-logo underwear peeks through. It's clothes that you want to wear, not just when nobody's watching but also when everyone is.
Liberation mostly comes in neutral colors, but also sometimes red gingham (a midi skirt cut on the bias; a longline vest with fringe) and dusty teal plaid (a fringe-hemmed coat; a matching Book Tote). It definitely includes a headscarf.
Was Chiuri looking to bridge the gap between the often out-of-reach art world with the often out-of-reach fashion world? Either way, she sparked a conversation that'll diffuse its way through the industry and beyond. See some of the standout looks from the 85-piece collection plus some can't-miss details, below.