Maria Grazia Chiuri's latest collection is an ode to her father's birthplace of Puglia, Italy. Bursting with delicately embroidered dresses and two pieces that are at once down-to-earth and divine, MOJEH explores the collection and journeys through its design with collaborating artist Pietro Ruffo
“During this period, I sought to give collective efforts a new dimension. Despite the disadvantages of distance, bringing a different perspective to our daily lives has given us strength and imagination,” says Maria Grazia Chiuri of her Dior cruise 2021 offering. For this collection, the designer chose to reconnect her creative passion with the Italian region of Puglia, a place close to her heart and the city in which her father hails from. The result was a glorious spectacle of fashion’s finest craftsmanship, from the art of weaving to Luminarie, showcased within the majestic walls of the Piazza del Duomo in Lecce, a small town in the province of Puglia.
In sheer celebration of the area in Southern Italy, the main audience – asides from a handful of clients – was made up of Puglia’s locals who purveyed the show from its front row and the balconies beyond the square. The collection itself was a collaboration between Chiuri and the region’s native craftspeople: Marilena Sparasci created the Tombolo lace – an extremely delicate style of lace which was created in Italy in the 15th century and spread throughout Europe during the 16th century – which bloomed across dresses in the form of flowers and butterflies; Tessitura Calabrese, a family business located in the heart of Italy’s Puglia region, was responsible for the ancient weaving techniques; and artist Pietro Ruffo dreamed up the illustrations that showcase the everlasting beauty of Puglia’s nature.
For the Middle Eastern woman – whose favoured season of the fashion calendar tends to be cruise (or resort as many refer to it) – there is plenty to indulge in. Think: preppy two piece skirt-suits and tailored rompers for the nine to five; a travel wardrobe imploding in luscious lace, linen and chiffon littered with flora and fauna; and demure skirts and pinafore dresses in spirited spring-time hues such as cherry pink and leaf green – best for lazing around the house mid-week, because, why not…
The cruise collections – and their corresponding shows – have become a point of conflict for the fashion industry with houses, big and small, questioning their expense, environmental impact and the mounting pressure that the additional collections place on their designers. But through Dior cruise 2021, the house and Maria Grazia Chiuri have stated an unwavering case for ‘the show will go on’. And here it goes on in the most celebratory and unapologetic of styles.
Notes on contributing artist Pietro Ruffo who dreamed up drawings celebrating the nature of Puglia
Born in Rome in 1978, Italian artist Pietro Ruffo’s work comprises drawing, watercolour and sculpture, as well as complex, minutely detailed oeuvres that require a painstaking creative process. Through his art, Pietro Ruffo explores a wide array of social, ethical and political issues, including nature and freedom, which are at the heart of his thought process.
The artist previously collaborated with Maria Grazia Chiuri for the scenography of the autumn/winter 17 haute couture show celebrating the House’s seventieth anniversary. For that occasion, he dreamed up a celestial vault and Earth, drawn with a poetic hand. For the Tiepolo Ball, in 2019, he worked with Maria Grazia on designs for sculptural gowns to enhance a performance by Parolabianca. Most recently, Pietro Ruffo signed the prints for the Dior Around the World capsule (part of the Dioriviera line) in tribute to Monsieur Dior’s lucky star.
For the 2021 Dior cruise collection, he produced more than 250 illustrations over three months, in constant dialogue with Maria Grazia Chiuri, taking inspiration from the book De Florum Cultura, published by Giovanni Battista Ferrari in 1638, for the creation of five floral motifs. Adorned with adages such as “Les parfums sont les sentiments des fleurs” (Perfumes are the feelings of flowers), his spellbinding drawings spring to life on a series of silhouettes, enhanced by the savoir-faire in the Dior Ateliers. An invitation to travel that evokes the everlasting beauty of Puglia’s untamed landscapes.
Here the artist takes us on his Dior cruise 2021 journey…
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