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Christian Dior explores tarot cards for haute couture SS21

By Danielle Wightman-Stone



Catwalk shows with audiences might be off-limits this Haute Couture season, but that doesn’t mean fashion houses aren’t going big. Christian Dior’s Maria Grazia Chiuri showcased her spring/summer 2021 collection with a tarot card inspired 15-minute film shot at a Tuscan castle by Italian director Matteo Garrone.

Taking inspiration from the tarot card deck decorated by the illuminator Bonifacio Bembo for the Duke of Milan in the 15th century, Dior invited fans inside the penumbrous halls of ‘Le Château du Tarot’, the fantastical setting for its haute couture atmospheric film presentation.

This was a cinematic experience following the protagonist through the castle after her tarot reading, where she encounters her tarot cards, from the Fool to Justice, while bringing to life the collection by wearing both masculine and feminine looks.

Probably more important than the clothes themselves, there was also diversity. Following the criticism the fashion house received last season, Dior placed a Black High Priestess wearing a bustier dress and coat in gold and burgundy jacquard front and centre of the film.

Dior teams up with Matteo Garrone to present haute couture SS21 film

It was an engaging, magical and creative piece of escapism for these current uncertain times. A blockbuster presentation for a collection that was mesmerising and beautiful, filled with extraordinary evening gowns that weaved throughout like a Renaissance tapestry.

“Tarot cards are among the keys to accessing the magical realm, to explore the unknown while fearlessly looking deep inside oneself,” explained Dior in the press release. “Maria Grazia Chiuri immediately felt a connection with these imaginary worlds and this visual language whose symbolic lexicon is rich in complex and fascinating characters.”

These tarot characters were brought to life in a series of dresses featuring virtuoso constructions, to “manifest proof that couture remains the ultimate territory of experimentation and possibility,” added Dior.

There was a touch of historic nobility to the collection, with an element of Bridgerton sass, as well as modern sensibility with sharply-cut suiting, but it was the craftsmanship that stole the show. With ultra-luxe fabrics taking centre-stage, from lace with hand-painted and hand-embroidered appliqués, luxurious jacquard weaved with metallic detailing, silk toile layered over organza, elegant chiffon and exquisitely tailored velvet and satin.

Highlights include golden velvet decorated with the signs of the zodiac, floor-length capes adorned with multicoloured feathers, jacquards sprinkled with stars, lace inlaid with hand-painted embellishments, a plissé gown embroidered in crystals, and a sundress fully embroidered with a lattice of handmade flower and pearl motifs on pale gold lace. There were also openwork bodices punctuated with illustrations by Pietro Ruffo.

Dior grey also appears in tweed, cashmere and organza on shirts, skirts, trousers and capes. Meanwhile, the Bar jacket is revisited in black velvet, “its curves reinterpreted to express a new attitude,” explains Dior.

As well as the film presentation, Dior has also released a making-of video to highlight the cinematic process of Matteo Garrone featuring an interview with the director.

Images: courtesy of Dior; Film stills by Matteo Garrone for Dior; Other looks by Elina Kechicheva for Dior

Christian Dior
Haute Couture
Haute Couture Week
Maria Grazia Chiuri
Paris Haute Couture Week