What is seen at a runway show – especially at the likes of a storied luxury maison such as Dior – is impressive: acres of lush, recherche materials transformed into stylish ensembles for the modern woman. What is unseen is even more astonishing.
One of the most overlooked aspects of a fashion collection is how it’s made. The average shopper puts no thought into how an item might have come to be on the retail shelf in front of them, and even the accomplished fashion lover might only spare a thought or two for the details. Yet, a runway show, especially one the scale of Dior’s Cruise 2019 presentation, comes together as the result of thousands of moving parts – not the least of which begins with craft.
Before a symphony can play its first note, the instruments must be formed, the techniques to play them must be mastered. They must then be synthesized into a song, a minuet, a requiem. Similarly, before Maria Grazia Chiuri’s lyrical version of the French ‘Toile de Jouy’ pastoral scenes could come together, they must first be imagined – each miniature tiger, elephant, and bear drawn by hand and rendered onto fabrics that are transformed into skirts, dresses, and even tote bags. As revealed in the video above, these prints are so painstakingly crafted that it’s a marvel these collections come together in only a matter of months.
The incredible talent of Dior’s ateliers also resulted in the archival reprisal of fantastic bespoke lace, which unfurled on the runway on flirty tiered lace gowns and frocks. With Chantilly – the French town responsible for creating handmade bobbin lace of the same name – as the backdrop to the collection, the superlative quality of the lace was imperative for the collection. In replicating, stitch by stitch, archival lace patterns first perfected by the craftsman’s great-grandfather, the workshop was able to render the lace flowers flawlessly from hand-drawn versions. In the video below, the breathtaking savoir faire of Dior’s lace looks for Cruise 2019 are poetically revealed.