Dior pays tribute to folklore and Ukrainian art in demure haute couture show

Creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri used the tree of life as the starting point for her latest collection, which was unveiled in Paris

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For autumn/winter 2022-2023, Dior's creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri presented a haute couture collection centred around unity and universality.

Unveiled on Monday, in the wake of the US Supreme Court's overturning of Roe vs Wade, staunch feminist Chiuri presented a sartorial celebration of different countries and cultures. Rich in embroidery and folkloric references, it highlighted the need for beauty in increasingly bleak times.

The tree of life, a symbol of the connection between all forms of creation, was the starting point for the collection. Chiuri drew on the work of Ukrainian designer Olesia Trofymenko, whose depictions of the tree reference ideas of ancestry, wisdom and balance.

The set was designed by Ukrainian designer Olesia Trofymenko, whose rendition of the tree of life inspired the collection. Photo: Dior

Trofymenko was invited to design the set for the show, which featured life-size tapestries hand-embroidered by women at the Chanakya School of Craft in Mumbai.

“A testament to different realms of imagination conveyed by virtuoso savoir-faire, the collection offers a profusion of embroidery on cotton, wool crepe, silk and cashmere, while a patchwork of lace and guipure braids adorn dresses,” the maison wrote in its show notes.

“Thanks to refined gestures of the hand, the tree of life is thus transformed into a manifesto for harmonious plurality, allowing a restoration of balance, if only momentarily.”

The show unfolded in the annex of Rodin Museum, Left Bank, Paris, with a celebrity guest list including Naomi Watts, Zoe Saldana and Sigourney Weaver.

Roots and branches were rendered on long, loose folksy gowns. Photo: Dior

Roots and branches were rendered on long, loose folksy gowns, or on jackets embroidered in silks, cotton threads and yarn. There were tight round necks, long regal gowns and floaty bishop’s sleeves.

Heavily embroidered cropped jackets were paired with loose flowing skirts, while square-necked dresses were decidedly demure. Dark tartan was edged with intricate floral motifs and floor-length gowns were sculpted from stiff lacework.

A largely muted palette of grey, white and ivory was interspersed with a rare pop of red, blue or pink. Models wore simple braids and very little make-up, so the focus remained firmly on the clothes.

“It's such a rare thing to see such excellence,” said actress Weaver. "You know, like seeing a unicorn, except it's woman-made. So it's a great honour for me — the rare times I've been able to come to haute couture, I feel like I've come right into the heart of France.”

Updated: July 05, 2022, 1:15 PM