On a day when religious processions passed through Seville to celebrate the feast of Corpus Domini, Maria Grazia Chiuri staged her show in the Andalusian city, conquering the vast Plaza de España with a fashion and flamenco show for the annual collection of Dior Cruises.
Guests including the star of “Bridgerton” Charithra Chandran, the French actresses Laetitia Casta and Amira Casar, the influencer Chiara Ferragni and the starlet Stella Banderas mingled at the venue, decked out like a street festival with strings of lights and curtains. rows furnished with hand painted wooden tables and chairs.
“I wanted to make a ‘fair’ too, in a way,” Chiuri said in preview. “It is absolutely not religion, but at the same time fashion is a community work”.
British singer Celeste, who recently performed for Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee in a Dior dress, said the vast semicircular square, built for the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition, made her want to dance. “I imagine myself twirling with my fan, perhaps with castanets,” she said.
Elle Macpherson came with her son Cy Busson, a budding model rumored to go to the Dior men’s show in Paris on June 24. “I love Kim Jones, that’s all I’m saying,” Busson hesitated, referring to the menswear director.
“He’s a college student, studying economics. Fashion isn’t really his first choice but, you know, who can say no to a men’s show in Paris? ”Macpherson added with a smile.
Fresh off the VivaTech conference in Paris, Dior owner Bernard Arnault arrived for the evening, filming the show set on his mobile as the sun set and a gentle breeze provided a welcome respite from the sweltering heat days.
While the musicians beat a rhythm on drums, a flamenco dancer and a flamenco dancer battled at opposite ends of the stage before being joined by a troupe of dancers in red, for a performance conceived by Spanish choreographer Blanca Li. An orchestra played to a score by Alberto Iglesias, a Spanish composer known for his evocative soundtracks from Pedro Almodóvar films.
Dressed in a black trouser suit, the dancer, Belén López, trampled and whirled a storm, evoking the legendary flamenco dancer Carmen Amaya, who revolutionized the discipline in the 1950s by performing in men’s clothing.
Chiuri said Amaya, known as La Capitana, was a key inspiration for the collection, contrasting equestrian dresses trimmed with cascading ruffled skirts and fringed shawls, mixing references from historical paintings to dressage uniforms and putting in displays a range of Spanish handicrafts.
The designer commissioned artist María Ángeles Vila Tortosa to create four posters, similar to those used to announce flamenco performances, depicting Amaya in different poses. The pastel-toned artwork was used as prints on items including a cape-sleeved jacket and a range of voluminous bustier dresses.
“I think the most important thing about these dancers is that they use their body as a musical instrument,” said Chiuri. “When I did the editing of the dancers, it was incredible. All the girls immediately started dancing. It was impossible to take a normal photo. “
She was struck by the regal bearing of the Spanish artists. “They are really proud, strong, poetic – ‘el fuego’, really. Great energy, that’s what I really love, ”Chiuri said.
The result was one of his most complete collections, filled with desirable clothing and exceptional details, such as three-dimensional gold thread embroidery, borrowed from liturgical vestments, on one of the house’s Bar jackets.
Chiuri, who made wide-skirted silhouettes a signature of her tenure at Dior, retouched the theme with belted midi styles, like a red-pink skirt with wisps of fabric swirls and huge tiered floor sweepers.
She tempered her luscious off-the-shoulder blouses and lace tops barely there with elegant gowns, drawing inspiration from old images of Jackie Kennedy riding the Duchess of Alba at Seville’s Feria de Abril.
Equestrian clothing ranged from jodhpur suits to folkloric-style bolero jackets and vests, which were accessorized with black leather gaiters, whips, and wide-brimmed hats made by the Fernández y Roche workshop.
Chiuri’s sporting inclination often drives her into tomboy territory, but here she has worked on masculine-feminine contrasts to achieve a kinky effect, pairing masculine cuffed trousers with a white ribbed waistcoat, suspenders and a fringed shawl embroidered with the name Christian Dior.
There was an erotic charge to the black riding trousers worn with a spider web knit top and lace-effect leather work gloves, while the leggings, in perforated leather or canvas with the Dior Oblique logo, added a playful touch.
Chiuri used the annual cruise collection as a platform to showcase local talent, drawing on the huge pool of workshops involved in the maintenance of Seville’s church altars and religious statues.
“In every area there is a church with their Madonna, and the community celebrates her as someone who is part of their family,” he said. “This idea of community, this type of street party, moved me because it reminds me so much of Italy, and in particular southern Italy, when I was young”.
It turns out that the Virgin Mary also has a fashion punch.
“She is like the queen, and she is dressed like a queen,” Chiuri said, noting that the statues are prepared by special assistants in a dedicated church room.
“They change her dress for different ceremonies and she has a wardrobe like a real woman. It’s amazing how her clothes are tied to the representation of her. I have never found fashion books that talk about this bond, “she added.
Dior plans to continue working with some of the workshops it explored for the collection, illustrating one of the many economic benefits Spain will reap from the show.
Pietro Beccari, president and CEO of Christian Dior Couture, said he expects 200 million people to follow the event online. “I’m really sure there will be an explosion of tourism in Andalucia after this show,” he said.
They are in a good battle with Madrid to be the second most visited city in Spain after Barcelona, and I think we will give them a big hand, so we were greeted by the mayor and the local authorities of Andalusia in a majestic way “, he added.
Seville allowed Dior to privatize one of its main attractions, the Royal Alcázar, for a welcome cocktail the night before the show. “It has never been done before and I think probably no other brand as big as Dior has ever asked. And, again, it takes two for the tango. They give us something special, but they know it’s something special to host Dior in the city, ”said Beccari.
Although the brand has no plans to open a store in Seville, it is looking for a new location in Madrid, where it has three boutiques. “There is double or triple digit growth with the Spaniards, but we also see that Americans are back, as are tourists from Southeast Asia,” the executive said.
Dior, which just came to a halt during the coronavirus pandemic, has accelerated the pace of runway events in recent months, with a pre-fall show in Seoul in April and a men’s capsule line bowing in Los Angeles in May. After the next men’s fashion show in Paris, on July 4th it will unveil the autumn haute couture line.
Beccari expects to maintain the dizzying pace of the brand’s events in the second half of the year.
“We came out of the crisis by accelerating instead of slowing down. In July 2020, we achieved the largest turnover in Dior’s history, in terms of volume, and we are gaining market share. We are ahead of the competition and we need to stay there, “she said.
“Our calendar will be full. This was the first six months, so buckle up and be ready to rock and roll with us, ”she said.
Chiuri was clearly in her element with the show in Spain, which completes a Mediterranean trilogy, following the cruise events in Greece in 2021 and in Italy in 2020. Flamenco artists, swarming around her in a ‘ explosion of spontaneous dances and songs after the show.
Afterward, they flocked to the dance floor to mingle with guests, tossing and twirling their red skirts late into the night.
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