COURTESY OF CHRISTIAN DIOR

Dior's Fall 2020 Couture Collection Is An Escapist Experiment In Savoir Faire

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During times of uncertainty, the fashion world is used to experimentation. Following World War II, it was couturier Monsieur Christian Dior who helped the beau monde find their way back to luxury, creating his curvaceous "New Look" that galvanized women to return to glamour in postwar-France. It's only right that here, as you navigate a new normal and try to determine what fashion will mean in this profoundly changed world, the House of Dior is here to test a new path. Through Dior's Fall 2020 Couture collection, the brand's first presentation since the onset of the pandemic, Creative Director Maria Grazia Chiuri revisits the brand's celebrated roots, while concurrently waging an experiment in Dior's fabled savoir faire.

Rather than showing through a virtual runway, Grazia Chiuri joined forces with celebrated Italian director Matteo Garrone on a different kind of presentation. Le Mythe Dior was their brainchild — a short film that reinterprets the Théâtre de la Mode tradition from 1945, when wartime drastically altered the status quo in fashion. As a solution to fabric rations, couturiers enlisted the Théâtre de la Mode — a traveling exhibition of fashion dolls in miniature gowns — in order to conserve resources. For its first post-pandemic collection, the house did the same — creating miniature dresses that were one-third of the size of their regular format.

The savoir faire in these tiny frocks is most striking. To render these creations on such a small scale demands meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail. The “MARTHE” corolla dress, for instance, features Greige hand-pleated silk gauze with fringed tiers. Its miniature required a total of 180 hours from three petites mains to complete. The savoir faire is further amplified by the dreamy film component, which was made entirely without any special effects. It conjures its mythological forest landscape exclusively through artful design and makeup. “The concept of film, as a work of art and an artistic medium, has always captivated me," shared Grazia Chuiri. "I have often thought of experimenting with it in order to reproduce the unique atmosphere of haute couture. Cinema is an art that is both creative and artisanal, a work of authorship and a chorale. It’s very similar to fashion’s savoir-faire."

COURTESY OF CHRISTIAN DIOR

The Autumn-Winter 2020-2021 Haute Couture film takes a mystical sojourn into the natural world, bringing dresses to women across landscapes and contexts. Visited by the 30 Avenue Montaigne-shaped trunk of miniature gowns, Dior invites lovers, throngs of nymphs, and silvery, gliding mermaids to embrace Dior couture as they live their lives in any way they choose. Each woman trades out softer silhouettes for Dior's famous waist-cinching "New Look," mirroring the sense of discovery that first gave rise to the house some 80 years prior. The dresses themselves reflect hues from the natural world, from coral reds, grays and golds, with subtle draping striking a chord with Dior's Spring 2020 Couture collection.

In lieu of the fanfare in Paris that would normally characterize Couture week, this venture offers an escapist dream to its admirers — one that the world of couture is forever underscored by.