These days, it is hard to know what to expect from Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior. With an ever-changing approach and fresh take each collection, for some, it may feel as though she is losing her grip on continuity. But is continuity in fashion really something we need more of? For the Dior Fall 2022 show, Chiuri asks the question.
Aptly titled The Next Era, the collection gives way to experimentation in a fashion that not many luxury Maison's feel the freedom to explore with such strong codes cemented into the brands DNA. For Chiuri, she has done the work. After a six year tenure at Dior, Chiuri has been carefully redefining what it means to be a Dior woman. And while there are a lot of new elements at play in her Fall 2022 collection, the bones are still there. Namely in the Houses sacred cow: the Bar jacket, which for Fall 22, is rendered simply in grey's, blacks, and a tonal check. For the second look off the runway, the Bar jacket is clad with buckled torso padding, which gives way to a slew of padded gear that is layered atop lace gowns and structured netted skirts. Shoulder padding that resembles football or hockey gear is placed atop a delicate lace turtleneck, while padded corsetry is offered as a sporty addition to an otherwise feminine silhouette. Similarly, elbow-high neon green and orange hockey gloves are accessorised beside simple black dresses and coats, cobalt tights peeking out of hemlines.
Chiuri has always done romanticism well, this we know above all else. It also informs our questioning of the motivation behind her sporty opening for Fall 2022, one which dissipated as the collection progressed. To ask this question, however, is to ignore all else that is going on in the world and in the trend cycle right now. Tactical wear continues to rage on, alongside themes of protection and utility, but low rise cargo pants hardly belong on a Dior runway (thankfully), so Chiuri looks elsewhere to build on classically feminine silhouettes.
Titled after the work of Mariella Bettineschi, the Italian artist proposes a gallery of paintings composed of large-scale portraits of women from the history of painting from the 16th to the 19th century. Serving as the backdrop of the runway, their cut up, stacked eyes "question the judgment that has conditioned – and still conditions – women past and present. The gaze is reversed to suggest another reading of art history." A press release notes. This is the framework that Chiuri works off of for Fall 2022, instead of the feminist slogan t-shirts that the brand was famed for when she started at the helm, Chiuri investigates form, savoir-faire, and materials to nod to the future.
You can explore more of the show's incredible scenography in the video below.
Later on in the collection, printed silk puffer jackets reminiscent of Christian Dior's winter garden are paired with biker gloves that toughen the silhouette, while perforated leather boned corsets zip up over camel coats and delicate dresses. Finally, the star of the show sees floor length gowns in mustard, teal, rust, and white float out to close. Chiuri's clear reminder that whatever she does, will always be done with a steady hand and commitment to savoir-faire. Under the layers of modern toughness, Dior's heritage stands tall, which is exactly why we'll always return for more.
Watch the Dior Fall 2022 show, below.