While the rest of the fashion industry hit pause on IRL shows in favor of digital presentations, Dior stayed on the runway. The Parisian house staged its Cruise 2021 collection set in beautiful Piazza del Duomo in Lecce, a small town in Puglia, in the heel of Italy’s boot.
Lecce being a hard place to get, aside from the models, Dior’s extensive teams, and a smattering of clients, it was locals who gathered to watch the show in the front row and on the balconies beyond the square.
Maria Grazia Chiuri staged an all-singing, all-dancing homage to the rites, traditions and craftsmanship of the southern Italian region. For her, it was a way to bring people together, after several months of isolation. ‘’During this period, I sought to give collective efforts a new dimension. Despite the disadvantages of distance, bringing a different perspective to our daily lives has given us strength and imagination’’, she said in a press release.
Inspirations from the Puglia region run deep throughout the collection. Here, she married a rustic aesthetic, rooted in tradition and necessity, with the opulence and fantasy of a French couture house.
There were pinafore dresses, blanket-fringe skirts, and hand-knit sweaters, and models wore kerchiefs in their hair and flat boots on their feet. The city’s history with bohemia, agriculture, and arts and crafts was literally weaved into pieces while wheat stalk motifs were heavily used on Dior gowns.
Traditional Puglian embroidery was utilized in an aim to protect its living heritage. Specifically, the ‘’Tombolo’’, a 15th century style of lace popularized in Southern Italy, is featured on dresses and made in collaboration with Marilena Sparasci, one of the last craftsperson to practice and teach this technique. And the collection’s woven pieces were created by the Le Constantine Foundation, which was established by sisters Giulia and Lucia Starace to preserve this form of textile design.
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