Maria Grazia Chiuri’s Spring/Summer 2023 Haute Couture collection for Dior was inspired by Joséphine Baker, an African-American singer and dancer who left the United States in the mid-1920s for the cosmopolitan city of Paris.
At that time Paris was a dream destination for artists, writers and fashion designers, who would bring their creativity to Europe and embrace the elegance of this historical city.
For Maria Grazia Chiuri, Baker embodies the modernity of that period, as well as the mixing of cultures and shared experiences of the vibrant city that happened in the French capital around that time. It was a time when the world of cabaret was a heavy influence in the city, and post-World War One when there was a sense of anticipation in the air.
After acquiring French citizenship, Baker returned to New York and performed at the Strand Theatre and Carnegie Hall where she was dressed in French fashion brands including creations by Dior. For the SS23 collection, Chiuri was inspired by photographs of Joséphine from this time. Her energy could be captured in the black and white images and her clothing, both elegant and modern, consisted of a series of coats which she wore on stage, as well as light velvet dresses, satin underwear, and quilted designs.
Many of these pieces were reinterpreted by Dior’s Creative Director for the latest collection. Carefully put together clothes are designed to glide over the body and caress it, something that is made possible through the choice of materials which includes silk and velvet, which often feature a creased effect, so carefully created by the House’s artisans.
There are delicate embroideries. Tiny silver studs and sequins reflect the light and bring life to the looks. Silver and gold fringes give movement to the designs. The suits and coats pay tribute to the masculine fabrics that were dear to Monsieur Dior.
The show’s staging was envisioned by African-American artist Mickalene Thomas who celebrates black and mixed-raced women throughout her work.
The show in Paris was attended by a number of celebrity friends of the brand including House ambassador Anya Taylor-Joy, Elizabeth Debicki, Rosamund Pike, Beatrice Borromeo Casiraghi, Kirsten Dunst, Rebecca Ferguson, Karlie Kloss, Chiara Ferragni and Middle East ambassador Razane Jammal.