Wednesday 25th September

| BY Claudia Croft

Dior: Ready-To-Wear SS20

Maria Grazia Chiuri is a champion of strong and courageous women. Her SS20 Dior show shines a light upon Catherine Dior, the designer’s sister, and a horticulturist who joined the French resistance in WWII. She was arrested, tortured and sent to Ravensbrük concentration camp. She survived that horror and shared with her brother a love of flowers. She tended the family garden which inspired his designs and he named his first perfume Miss Dior after her. Maria Grazia Chiuri poured over pictures of this remarkable woman building her collection around the idea of a gardener.

Models in overalls, straw bucket hats, apron dresses, denim bleached-out dungarees and blue chambray shirts picked a path through a set featuring 140 trees, their root balls bundled in cloth, ready for replanting – this is what offsetting looks like. There was an earthiness to the clothes, even the highly crafted pieces. Chiuri teased blonde Rafia into gloriously 3D flower skirts and traced botanical drawings in beads on linen pinafores and trouser suits. The overall mood was dignified and gentle.

With a freedom fighting horticulturalist as her muse, other pressing cultural factors naturally came into play. Chiuri said her show, happening in the same week as the UN’s global climate conference was a coincidence, but sustainability was on Chuiri’s mind. Her tree-lined set was a collaboration with Coloco, a collective committed to driving urban inclusiveness through gardening. They will replant the trees in Paris after the show and attached QR codes to each one to track its eventual location. Once again, Chiuri is injecting Dior into the heat of an important conversation.

Photographs by Jason Lloyd-Evans.