| BY CLAUDIA CROFT
To Lecce, on the heel of Italy, and a historic cathedral square transformed into a glorious illuminated fiesta by Marinella Senatore’s Luminarie. 30,000 colourful lights twinkled in her joyful display, which was a large scale version of the illuminations this region traditionally put up for religious festivals. The local was exalted in this Dior Cruise show. Inspired by her childhood and the traditional Italian handcrafts practised by her grandmother and uncle, Maria Grazia Chiuri collaborated with a host of local artisans from traditional weavers to tombola embroiderers. The handmade roses on one dress were all made by local women. The lace on the headscarves worn by many models was also made locally and the weavers of the nearby Le Constantine Foundation produced some of the fabrics. For Dior, this was not only a stylistic choice but a gesture of support for artisans, struggling to survive the pandemic.
Local folk ensemble, Notte della Taranta delivered an emotive soundtrack to a heartfelt collection which celebrated the region’s traditions and craftsmanship. The look – headscarves, pinafores, hand-made lace gowns, shaggy, embroidered gilets and flat sandals – had a homespun charm and a carefree feel. The key accessory was a shopper bag decorated with wheat sheaves. Originally meant to be held in May, the show was put on hold due to the pandemic. When it finally did go ahead, it was without the usual live audience. A few friends of the house, along with a handful of clients and Italian press, joined locals who watched this outdoor fashion spectacle from balconies and rooftops around the square. Despite the pandemic circumstances, this was not a scaled-down show.
Months in the planning, the illuminated set took 11 days to build. Many of the 90 looks, shown under the vast twinkling lights of the wide-open piazza, celebrated local craft – but the experience as a whole spoke to the world. The global livestream audience was estimated to top 20 million. The pandemic has allowed Dior to experiment with different storytelling formats. It debuted a fantastical fashion film in lieu of a Couture show and accompanied this Cruise presentation with a slew of informative films on it’s Instagram stories. But fundamentally, Dior is house is committed to putting on a show for the whole world to see.
See more images by Roy Bushmann