With Haute Couture Week going digital for the first time, due to the
coronavirus pandemic, questions were being asked about whether luxury
fashion houses could express the same magic as they do with a live catwalk
showcase, well Dior invited the fashion world into a magical and cinematic
world filled with mermaids, nymphs, and tree-people for its autumn/winter
Dior’s whimsical fashion film, ‘Le Mythe Dior’, directed by Italian
filmmaker Matteo Garrone, follows the journey of the haute couture
collection in miniature form inside a doll’s house-like trunk, which
embodies 30 Avenue Montaigne, carried by two bellboys to a variety of
mythical creatures in a pre-Raphaelite world.
“Surrealist images manage to make visible what is in itself invisible,”
explains Dior creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri of her autumn-winter
2020-2021 haute couture collection. “I’m interested in mystery and magic,
which are also a way of exorcising uncertainty about the future.”
The creation of miniature haute couture designs pays homage to the
Théâtre de la Mode, a roving exhibition of small-scale fashion mannequins
by French couturiers that travelled between Europe and America right after
the war in 1945 due to wartime shortages. Much like the current
unprecedented time, which has seen ateliers closed for periods of time due
to the pandemic lockdown.
This idea saw the Dior haute couture ateliers craft miniature versions
of the 37-piece collection to fit a mannequin standing 55cm tall, as well
as full-sized versions, which the mythical creators model in the film. Each
of the miniature looks, from the satin crepe dresses to the organza blouses
and flared jacquard skirts were all crafted by hand as if they were real
haute couture garments, just at a third of the size.
“In this way, it feels only natural to recount the story of
extraordinary haute couture silhouettes by reinterpreting the female body
through the singular prism of the fashion doll,” states Dior in the show
Dior showcases doll-sized haute couture garments for autumn/winter
For the collection itself, Chiuri took inspiration from the work of
female Surrealist artists such as Lee Miller, Dora Maar and Jacqueline
Lamba, who she explains “transcended the role of muses to which their
beauty had initially relegated them in order to champion – in their lives
and surrealist works a different femininity”.
The pieces have been imbued with that attitude, where “one that is
connected, attuned to nature and transformation,” added Chiuri, with
certain pieces displaying spectacular gradations of red, like a coral reef
swaying in the glimmer of the ocean, while soft greys, neutral tones and
golden yellow hues add luminescence to the collection to give a magical
For the day, Chiuri showcased draped suits in men’s fabrics, the classic
Dior Bar jacket alongside a matching razor-pleated skirt, and a white
belted double-cashmere coat with Tarot embroidery inspired by French
painter Jacqueline Lamba’s tarot designs.
However, it was the magnificent eveningwear, highlighted beautifully by
a bustier dress in turtledove grey tulle with Chantilly lace appliqué
featuring blue and yellow, draped Grecian column dresses, a bronze toga
dress with kimono sleeves and a draped black gown with pleated ruffles and
fringing that really showcased the magic of Dior couture, even in miniature
form and online the craftsmanship of these pieces really shined through.
It was also nice to see the Dior ateliers playing a starring role in the
film presentation, with a team of dressmakers putting the final touches on
the miniature versions of the collection to start the fantasy film, before
packing them off in the trunk to roam the mythical world of couture
shoppers in the wilderness.
Dior called out on social media for lack of diversity with its
While the cinematography was praised on social media, the lack of
diversity in the casting, which was all-white, from the models to the
atelier staff was called out as a chance missed by Dior especially in the
wake of the Black Lives Matter movement. Just last month, the fashion house
stated that it was “allies in the fight against racism,” however, by
featuring an all-white cast in this big-budget haute couture production it
doesn’t show that Dior is following through with its statements.
Images: courtesy of Dior