Why Creativity And Fashion Remain “Fundamental” In Difficult Times
L'OFFICIEL Singapore|November 2020
Dior’s creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri opens up to L’Officiel Singapore about her exceptionally personal Cruise 2021 collection, and why creativity and fashion remain “fundamental” in difficult times
Ian Lee

Puglia is the birthplace of your father, and since this is quite a personal collection for you, could you tell us how you translated your memories and love for the area directly into the collection?

Puglia represents my origins. Its atmosphere, streets, palazzi, and landscapes – everything there speaks to me of my family, and my own personal history. The collection is a celebration of Pugliese traditions, and also of femininity in all its facets. And of the creative value of the push and pull between the local and the global. We forged ties with the very talented artisans of the region, making every aspect of the collection – from conception to production to publicising – something shared and made with the people who work to preserve the extraordinary heritage of Salento.

We worked with Le Costantine Foundation to develop fabric using age-old techniques and looms, and even decided to embroider their motto, Cantando e Amando (“singing and loving”), on a series of skirts, to strengthen the tie and shout it out loud and clear. When it came to embellishments on the clothing, we turned to Marilena Sparasci, one of the last embroidery artists, who practices and teaches the complex technique of bobbin lace. We also worked with the Fratelli Parisi company, which is famous for spectacular light installations, to give warmth to the show’s set, and we asked Agostino Branca, a master potter, to create a series of plates for us featuring tarot cards. He paired that with wildflowers and plant motifs typical of the Salento region.

In short, inspiration took concrete form by way of an open and easy-flowing dialogue with these – and so many other – extraordinary people and realities. This collection is a result of teamwork that shows the entire world, with an inclusive approach, that memory, values, and local culture have become part of the Dior heritage.

Before the Coronavirus’ impact, you had started working with artisans in Lecce in order for the collection to pay ode to the region. As Cruise collections so often tell stories and draw from the magic of a particular place, what do you hope for people around the world to know about Lecce?

Lecce is an extraordinary city, just like the region of Salento. A real gem, which nevertheless is often not on typical tourist itineraries because Italy is so full of spectacular places that it becomes difficult to make them all known. I hope the show will be an opportunity for those who are not familiar with the region to get to know its history, atmospheres and traditions. And I hope that sharing my enthusiasm about working with Puglia – for inspiration but also in an active and inclusive way – serves to showcase the warm hospitality and openness of the place: Puglia can’t wait to welcome the world and share its beauty with it.

The theme of female power is always present in your collections. As Dior’s first-ever female creative director, why is it important to touch on the topic each season?

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