Editor’s Note: This video is a segment from the CNN Style show.
On February 12, 1947, fashion designer Christian Dior showcased his first collection.
The full skirts and nipped in waists prompted Harper’s Bazaar’s editor at the time Carmel Snow to say: “It’s quite a revolution, dear Christian! Your dresses have such a new look!”
Thus coining a phrase that would come to define the brand.
Though his tenure only lasted 10 years, Dior left an indelible mark on modern fashion.
A new world at Dior
Seventy years on there’s a new artistic director at the helm.
Italian designer Maria Grazia Chiuri is the first female head of the celebrated French fashion house. Before taking the position in July 2016, she was part of one of the industry’s most successful design duos, working alongside Pier Paolo Piccoli at Valentino.
“I discovered a new world in many ways (at Dior) and I have to learn many things because there is a huge tradition and huge heritage,” she explained to CNN Style host Derek Blasberg in Paris.
“When I was in Valentino I worked there for 17 years … I worked with the founder. It’s a completely different story with Dior.”
Rather than looking solely to Christian Dior’s legacy, Chiuri has chosen to acknowledge the full canon of designers in her outlook for the brand.
“I decided maybe to think that part of my job was to be a curator, because in any case there was not just Mr. Dior. There was Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, John Galliano, Raf Simons, Hedi Slimane … You can’t think of this brand in a simple way.”
We should all be feminists
Her debut show last September made a clear statement of intent.
Adorning simple white t-shirts was a slogan taken from the title of a book by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi: “We should all be feminists.”
“I think feminism at the end speaks of equal opportunity. I have a daughter and I have a son. I hope that in the future they have the same opportunity in life … To speak about feminism is about that, not more,” explained Chiuri.
The brand’s latest campaign, starring house muse Jennifer Lawrence, is shot in black and white by French photographer Brigitte Lacombe.
The images convey a natural, understated aesthetic – a contrast to what many might associate with the glamorous world of high fashion.
It all seems to link back to one of Chiuri’s core beliefs about the importance of dress: “The idea is about uniform. You can choose your personal uniform … it speaks about equality. You can choose what is right for yourself, because you protect yourself with the uniform.”