Magic of Tarot: Behind the collection of Christian Dior’s Spring 2021 Couture

Maria Grazia Chiuri chose to use the tarot in her haute couture show to explore one of the occult, mystical ways that emerge in apocalyptic times when humanity tries to bargain with fate.

Her inspiration was from Italo Calvino’s work The Castle of Crossed Destinies and decided to construct her collection around the beautiful Visconti-Sforza tarot cards, which she used to create outstanding results that represented the various arcana. A storey on the mystical beauty of divinatory arts.

This collection pays delicate respect to Monsieur Dior, who also believed in fate signals by reinterpreting the intriguing realm of divinatory arts in which Maria Grazia Chiuri adores. In his memoirs, he said, “Being superstitious, I raced to touch the least bit of wood.” An irresistible desire tinged with enchantment and fantasies.

The Collection

The Visconti-Sforza tarot, designed by Bonifacio Bembo for the Duke of Milan in the 15th century, is an excellent source of inspiration for Maria Grazia Chiuri. Its visual impact elevates the collection. The virtuoso brilliance of the Dior Ateliers added further enchantment to the works with these beautiful cards embellished with gold, enamel, vegetal and geometric interlacing. The proportions and cuts of the forms remind the aristocratic-looking garments represented in this deck, a masterwork of lighting, symbolizing the transfer from paper to textiles.

Zodiac signs are sources of strength and power, as well as mystical symbols of fate, in Maria Grazia Chiuri’s haute couture designs, made of brocades with golden threads and dévoré velvet showing heavenly patterns. A surreal encouragement to follow one’s lucky star and a fitting homage to Monsieur Dior’s superstition.

Gold, a symbol of refinement, adds a touch of opulence to the collection; lighting works with subtle subtleties, especially when paired with shantung silk. Miss Dior’s classic dress is reimagined in a stunning all-gold version.

Maria Grazia Chiuri persuaded the Roman artist Pietro Ruffo, a close friend of the House, to reimagine the game of tarot. As a tribute to the metaphorical richness of nature and plants, circular cards devoid of human forms complement the dresses and skirts in the collection.

The plastron covers various silhouettes in the collection, symbolizing by turns the tarot’s major arcana. It is a sign of protection and power, as well as armour and ornament. It highlights designs with a touch of boldness, designed by Pietro Ruffo and embroidered by the House’s Petites mains.

Reference to Renaissance Period

The artwork of the Renaissance period has taught us a lot about the clothing of the time. In stained glass, sculptures, sketches, and oil paintings, people clothed in diverse clothing styles. While there was (and still is) class stratification in dress, with a garment displaying the wearer’s social rank, the distinctions grew less strict. While the Church continued to control the sorts of clothes worn, particularly by women, creative designers sought methods to decorate and add intriguing details.

In addition, to meet modern aesthetic standards, Renaissance women were required to wear an opulent dress, jewelry, accessories, and cosmetics. Renaissance beauty, on the other hand, was more than skin deep. An early modern lady had to be both attractive and ethical to be deemed fashionable.

Reference to Christian Dior’s collection takes back to early 1500-1550. Women wore high belted waistline, or empire silhouettes, loosely fitted to the body and flared from the hips with a train. The neckline was square and might reveal the kirtle and chemise beneath; cuffed sleeves were wide at the wrist and grew more expansive, displaying a decorated undersleeve attached to the kirtle.

The cuffed sleeves of the past gave way to trumpet sleeves, which were tight on the upper arm and flared below, with wide, turned-back cuffs (often lined with fur) worn over full undersleeves that matched the decorated forepart. After the period, complete round sleeves (perhaps influenced by Italian trends) began to take the place of the flared trumpet sleeves, which had faded by the late 1550s.

Christian Dior Spring 2021 Couture Collection

My Personal Opinion

I like this collection because it strongly represents Maria Grazia Chiuri’s inspiration (Tarot). What’s even more interesting is she incorporate her design aesthetics from the Renaissance period with a modern twist. I am keen on the intricacy of the collection, the craftsmanship, and making these masterpieces is time-consuming because, in haute couture, you have to be far beyond your imagination of constructing a garment. As an aspiring Fashion designer, Dior is one of my top inspirations for Haute Couture.

The collection has a strong representation of the Renaissance period; using this historical reference is part of a fashion cycle, sometimes we use the term “Out of the old and in with the new” concept, but we have to think of the origins and historical background, that is when we have to incorporate the reference with the new genre of clothing. Maria Grazia Chiuri delivered a marvellous work upon making the collection because aside from the Renaissance period, she combined the Tarot cards, zodiac symbols, and medieval floral designs altogether.

This collection is suitable for high and formal events, and it could be popular here in my city (Calgary). Most Calgarians haven’t come out in their shell when it comes to executing fashion, but we are trendsetters; we follow what is new for every season. It only takes guts and confidence to pull off this kind of fashion, and I believe many women dream of wearing one of Dior’s dresses. If you can afford to commission a garment, one of the significant advantages of Haute couture is that you will possess something unique and unlike any other. Some artworks have been passed down through families for decades and auctioned for large sums of money for a good cause.

Citation and Reference

https://www.dior.com/en_us/womens-fashion/haute-couture-shows/folder-spring-summer-2021-haute-couture-collection/the-collection

Mower, S. (2021, January 25). Christian Dior Spring 2021 Couture . In Vogue Runway. Retrieved from https://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/spring-2021-couture/christian-dior

Eagles, L. (2018, January 16). “BEAUTY ADORNS VIRTUE”: ITALIAN RENAISSANCE FASHION. In Fashion History Timeline. Retrieved from https://fashionhistory.fitnyc.edu/beauty-adorns-virtue-italian-renaissance-fashion/

Wikipedia Editors. (n.d.). 1500–1550 in Western European fashion. In Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1500%E2%80%931550_in_Western_European_fashion

Published by loisgomez

I am a Marketing and Merchandising for Fashion student of Visual College of Arts & Design located in Calgary. I love Fashion, I mostly do fashion sketches and illustrations and hopefully, someday, I could have my fashion brand. Most of my posts will be about history of fashion; how it started, where it all began and so much more.

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