In Athens, Dior and the stadium goddesses

It floated like the air of the world before, on this Thursday, June 17, in Athens, where the Cruise 2022 parade of the Dior house was held. Last season, the presentation of the Cruise line – these “destination” collections which are the subject of an exotic and inspiring journey each year – was held behind closed doors in Lecce, Italy, with health restrictions required, and was only visible through interposed screens. It was in front of a small but still substantial audience – 500 guests instead of the usual 1,000 – that Maria Grazia Chiuri this time unveiled her score, in the Panathenaic Stadium, a Mecca of ancient Greece.

The house is thus the first to resume the rhythm of distant parades, with many guests. « We are proud to be the first! The year 2020 was very difficult from a human point of view, but the figures of the house are very positive ”, said Pietro Beccari, CEO of Christian Dior Couture, a few moments before the kickoff of the show. “The last few months have been difficult for everyone, we have been afraid for ourselves, our families and our friends. It is a good sign to be able to resume a semblance of normality, and it is also very important for the fashion industry as a whole which has suffered, like everyone else, a heavy impact ”, detailed the artistic director of the women’s collections, in the Parisian premises of the house, a few days before the parade.

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Multiple PCR tests in hand, it is a team happy to resume its habits that made the trip to the Hellenic capital, to discover a collection imagined in close collaboration with local artisans, Dior’s trademark for its lines. relocated. « The Cruise collection is our main line, the one that stays in store the longest. We have the opportunity to present it outside of fashion weeks, in unique places, while making people discover unique traditional know-how. », insists Maria Grazia Chiuri.

The starting point ? A photo dating from 1951, found in the archives of Paris Match, showing models wearing models signed Christian Dior and posing at the foot of the Acropolis. “Monsieur Dior used to take his creations on a journey, not only to present his unique work to the world, but also to promote the tradition of French couture. », explains Maria Grazia Chiuri.

An inspiring image, which could have turned into stereotypes. « As a Roman, I know these pitfalls. I wanted to avoid fantasized Greece. This country represents for us Europeans the roots of our civilization. We have all studied its history, we all have our own idea of ​​its codes. Of course, there are drapes inspired by the peplum in the collection, but with great modernity. Added to this is the notion of performance, freedom and celebration of the body. We are parading through an ancient stadium, a high place for surpassing oneself ”, analyzes the designer.

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With its 200-meter-long track, its high bleachers fashioned in marble from the quarries of Mount Pentelicus (high heels prohibited!), The Panathenaic Stadium located in the center of the city gave the collection a safe place. The American-Greek singer Ioanna Gika, accompanied by an orchestra, took care of the Homeric soundtrack.

On stage, long draped or pleated dresses, fashioned in silk from the town of Soufli, in the far east of the country on the traditional silk route. Modernity invites itself in the sense of detail, from the fasteners to the cutouts revealing the shoulders. The flexibility of the materials here infuses freedom of movement, through loose pants worn with large jackets. Performance takes on the features of sportswear pieces, worked with sewing techniques. Strategic challenges for luxury houses, the accessories are rich and varied. Ultra-technical sneakers, hybrid pumps revealing a sock, embroidered tote bag, but also several variations of bowling-bag, undoubtedly a hit in the making.

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The local artisans associated with this collection have expressed their traditional know-how on a series of strong pieces. Aristeidis Tzonevrakis, a tailor-embroiderer installed near the town of Argos in the Peloponnese, decorated a jacket and a bag. The Tsalavoutas workshop, a small family factory established for decades in the port of Piraeus, has applied its trimmings technique to traditional fishing caps, with the help of the British hat maker Stephen Jones.

« These garment workshops reminded me of the textile workshops in southern Italy, which, like here, are often family businesses. I learned a lot from them, they are technicians close to haute couture », comments Maria Grazia Chiuri who made several preparatory trips to Greece in order to refine her vision.

The Italian artist Pietro Ruffo has reinterpreted the famous figures of Greek athletes, which can be found on ancient ceramics, on a series of prints nestled on sportswear pieces, while the painter Christiana Soulou offers a new reading of goddesses from mythology, on short, juvenile dresses. Reconnecting with the emotion of a parade in real conditions, such was the bet of the flagship of the LVMH group. A first event which ended with a spectacular fireworks display above the Panathenaic Stadium and which foreshadows a dynamic recovery of the sector, from the next fashion show season, in September.

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