At the Aula Magna of the Iuav University of Venice, Maria Grazia Chiuri, creative director at Dior, told us her biographical runway towards the high-fashion life. The conversation was hosted by Maria Luisa Frisa, Director of the Degree Course in Fashion Design and Multimedia Arts at the Iuav University of Venice.
Students kept their ears open from the beginning to catch all the secrets for a fashionable and successful carrier in the fashion field.
From the university studies at IED Roma to her experience at Fendi, then seventeen years at Valentino and then again at Dior, Chiuri is ruthlessly performing the subject matter, breaking up principles and building new directions.
When she was a student, the designer of a couture was at the same time its owner. This meant that for fashion students the idea of being part of the creative process of one of the fashion idols of all times seemed too difficult.
When designers are young, they are more interested in breaking limits and demonstrating new generations’ worthy ideas. This might be a deceptive way to approach fashion, since even the smallest company has its own DNA, that has defined the traditional choices of the brand. If you lose it, you risk to not be understood, creating something that is not functional to that reality. The DNA of a brand does not have to be a burden, you have to make it personal. And Maria Grazia Chiuri issues a challenge to confront with the memory of the past, the heritage and the archive. “To renew is to take into account the visions of who has participated before“.
“How did your experience at Dior start?”
They asked me if I was unmovable. I answered that nothing is.
In her first runway at Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri was the first who openly expressed her commitment to feminism. “We should all be feminists”, screams the T-shirt of the collection. This claim, almost a political manifest, is the title of an essay of the Nigerian feminist writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
It is a strong declaration – for some risky for other conscious – of the position she adopted. “They all expected some flowers”, instead they found some voices.
“They want flowers to represent the gracefulness and elegance of female body. But even if you raise your voice for your rights, you and your body are still gentle. It seemed that women must have complaisant opinions, but why?”
The fashion creators of my generation have all underestimated the impact of fashion on new generations. In good faith we didn’t understand how much and how far fashion could speak about the body and its meanings.
Dreaming about last Spring 2019 prêt-à-porter runway in Paris, she wanted to highlight that fashion is more than a bunch of clothes, it is a complete experience. Now the creative director has to create an imaginary, a narration and coral projects as the curator of the brand. Fashion does not have anymore that narcissistic and self-referential way of doing things. Now it is more democratic, reflecting topics of interest of a large group of people.
This is the fashion of the future: since doing fashion is more than ever doing communication, even the smallest accessory now speaks about life, politics, gender issues, sustainable development and all the hot topics that light our contemporary existence.
“What would the Luxury of tomorrow be?”
Personally I’m pretty sure there will be a radical change: even if the democratization of fashion opened the street for a higher consume, now I can see that young people show more sensibility towards how the products are produced and the values behind them. For this reason I think that one day they will prefer local brands, smaller, more ethical and sustainable, in the environment’s respect.
Even fashion, as other disciplines, will have to face a close human challenge: being global in the respect and in the name of the local.