Ever since Artistic Director Maria Grazia Chiuri stepped into her role at Dior, female empowerment has been a central theme in her collections. While at times they do tend to seem a tad performative, Dior’s latest partnership with Seoul’s Ewha Womans University in occasion of the Dior fall 2022 collection, underscored its commitment beyond just female-centric thematic collections.
In a statement released post-runway show, Dior announced a Women@Dior Internship program, a Retail Management Training Program, and a series of master classes from the house’s leaders, offered for students at the Ewha Womans University. The aim is to give “students at the university opportunities to experience the diversity and the innovation of the house, with the space and a platform for them to express their personality and opinions openly and creatively”.
It’s what was envisioned aesthetically for fall 2022. The runway show — Dior’s first in the Republic of Korea — was held within the compounds of the Ewha Womans University with a skatepark set built specifically for the event. A group of female skateboarders opened the show, taking turns to skate down undulating ramps while in matching Dior overalls. If anything, it was an example of Chiuri’s brand of female empowerment: simply that a woman can do anything and has a place in any arena.
The show then began proper with the first look an indication of Dior fall 2022’s narrative. It was a punk-filled iteration of a school uniform — a crisp short-sleeved blouse fastened with a slim tie at the collar, with a loose-knit vest layered over, and then haphazardly tucked into a plaid maxi skirt emblazoned with a Dior family emblem. And of course (almost expectedly so but done rather tastefully) the look was topped off with studded leather bracelets, metal rings and earrings, and heavy-handed eyeliner.
It was then a showcase of perhaps some of the most stylish interpretations of boarding school uniforms, fit for a television series the likes of Netflix’s Elite or a new, new Gossip Girl.
There were quite a fair amount of menswear influences too (in the vein of that ‘women can wear and do anything’ vibe) with pleated bermudas that skimmed just above the knees, oversized denim jackets, and multi-functional cargo elements decorated on hardy fabrics. They were then juxtaposed with more feminine design elements that included slip dresses, delicate laces, mini skirts, and Dior Cannage outerwear. It was a personalisation of uniformity — in itself an incongruous concept — and a beautiful reminder that even in a world teeming with façade-only equality, that everyone is different and deserves to be an individual.
Because it was Dior’s first show in Seoul — and attended by some of the brightest stars in the Republic’s entertainment scene — there were subtle nods to the culture. The most obvious (but still tastefully referenced) were the hanbok-borrowed maxi skirt silhouettes that were fitted with a bow right at the side.
The Dior fall 2022 collection could perhaps be Chiuri’s strongest collection for the house yet. Nothing felt too contrived, house codes were adhered to but refreshed sufficiently to suit the narrative of the collection, and the styling traipsed the fine line between costume-y and fashion.
See the full Dior fall 2022 collection in the gallery below.