- ANDERS CHRISTIAN MADSEN
Christian Dior -- RESORT 2022
When a lockdown whim compelled Maria Grazia Chiuri to rearrange the furniture in her Paris apartment to make space for a pilates machine, she was responding to an instinct as old as time. “Sport is movement, sport is freedom. During lockdown, you would walk around your building just to get a sense of moving your body. That became our idea of freedom,” she said on a video call from Athens.
Her confinement reflections took her Dior Cruise show to a birthplace of sports, the Panathenaic Stadium, where Ancient Greeks worked up a sweat circa 330 BC. “I decided to show here because I’m interested in clothes as a way of giving freedom of movement,” Chiuri explained, echoing our post-pandemic desires. A reminder that restrictions are by no means history, ongoing travel complications meant that her show was largely attended by local press and clients, who were treated to a Greco-electro performance by the Greek-American singer Ioanna Gika.
n her first focused study of sportswear, Chiuri bridged the technical properties of the sporty genre with the couture-informed craftsmanship normally viewed as its polar opposite. Clean, cream activewear walked the stadium’s 185-meter laps, occasionally interrupted by sweats elevated with abstract prints. Searching for a tailored answer to that same feeling, Chiuri paid homage to Marlene Dietrich’s white suit, a reference prompted by an old photograph of the icon dressed up as Leda (who made her own cameo in a Björk-tastic swan dress at the end). Chiuri exercised her de- and reconstruction of Christian Dior’s old tropes, athleticizing the Bar Jacket by removing its lining and sportifying its fabrication. For all its oversized white trainers, this wasn’t really about sportswear, though, but about the desires that make us adapt sporty cuts and fabrics into our everyday wardrobes.
Part of a new generational spirit is a lack of patience with complicated fashions. Instead, young people imbue conventional dress codes with an expectation for comfort and ease. That territory is a walk in the park for Chiuri—or make that a sprint! Values of functionality, movement, and comfort are ingrained in her cultural inheritance and her practice at Dior. “I come from Roma, don’t forget. Around me, the reference of Greece is everywhere, on every statue. It’s my background,” she said. Those genetics were never more pronounced than in the peplos dresses that epitomized the collection. They are a constant in Chiuri’s work, but at the Panathenaic Stadium she found the most authentic stage to examine just why she loves this most original garment—the mother of all dresses—so much. She worked the peplos that opened the show like a parachute dress, sportifying it with drawstrings and drawing a contrast to the classic Hellenic dresses that closed the show.