There’s a specific brilliance to Dior artistic director Maria Grazia Chiuri. And it’s not exactly in the aesthetics of the fashion — tried-and-tested Dior silhouettes that have largely remained unchanged. But rather, Chiuri’s “takeover” of a city as part of Dior’s destination shows that also includes collaborations with local artisans.
Dior cruise 2023 was no different. Taking over the city of Seville (complete with teaser posters splashed around the city), Carmen Amaya was the central figure in a collection that was teeming with flamenco references. The flamenco icon was revered for her contributions to the art form, especially in the way that she broke traditional gender boundaries. Amaya’s reluctance to restrict her movements to the traditional female-only techniques changed the way flamenco was learnt and studied. And her high-waisted trousers (a helpful garment for the intense movements of the typically male flamenco kicks and footwork) was revolutionary.
The same could be said of what Chiuri did with the Dior cruise 2023 collection, in essence. Collaborating with seven Spanish ateliers — each specialising in a specific, time-honoured craft — it was a bridging of two cultures and in quite a seamless way. But more importantly, it was a studied conversation about reverence. Parisian haute couture (of which Dior’s atelier remains one of its the foremost authorities) has always been revered globally, while Spanish artisanship is perhaps rarely talked about in the fashion industry, and certainly not in the same standing as haute couture.
Dior cruise 2023 showed just how the two have more similarities than differences. And that when combined, could break traditional notions of what is or isn’t couture.
As expected, high-waisted trousers were a recurring leitmotif throughout the Dior cruise 2023 collection. Variations ranged from simple, classic tailored cuts to silk jacquards to denims that were at times paired with chaps. The chaps were a reference to the Duchess of Alba who rode horses with Jackie Kennedy, and were rendered in either decorated leather or varying Dior motifs — including the Dior Oblique and Cannage.
Horse-riding influences (at least in the image of the Duchess and Jackie O) continued with wide-brimmed hats that were worn slightly off-kilter, as well as cropped jackets that are also a flamenco staple.
It’s really in the collection’s more embroidered pieces and gowns that were the show-stopping hits. Embroidery, especially in the Spanish context, was a key element that was beautifully employed throughout coordinated tailoring, decadent capes, as well as the collection’s slew of cropped jackets. Then there were the silk taffeta dresses that recalls flamenco dresses and designed with tight gathers that flared out from the bust before a full-bodied, tiered skirt that flared out the silhouette even more.
Chiuri does her best work through these cultural collaborations. Perhaps, not because she has to but because she understands that the diversity of ideas is now, more than ever, an important aspect of fashion.
View the full Dior cruise 2023 collection in the gallery below.