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Dior FW21: A Fairytale Reflected in Reality

Immaculately immersed in The Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles, Dior presented its Fall/Winter 2021 collection this morning. Maria Grazia Chiuri tuned in to the world of fairytales to explore the constellation of clothes and accessories that bring them to life. Rather than excerpts fit for escapement, these tales were woven narratives forecasted into the future.  

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The myths, legends, and stories that make up imagination and reality provide opportunities to reexamine archetypes and stereotypes. For the new collection, Chiuri stripped those constructs down to details in clothing and accessories. The toy soldier uniform was transformed into coats of blue cashmere, embellished with red and white embellishments, and shimmering with lamé and Lurex jacquards for an added shine to the silhouette.

Dior Courtesy of Dior.

The house’s iconic Bar jacket was reinterpreted with an iconic Dior DNA code, a cannage motif. In contrast, another bore a hood, perhaps once worn in a fable tale like Angela Carter’s Little Red Riding Hood. Gowns fit for Beauty and the Beast (a film Chiuri is particularly fond of) made their way to the stage, sweeping the polished floors in layered tulle, and topped with white collars, plastrons in broderie anglaise, thin belts, and sheer sleeves. Below, white bobby socks hugged the arches of a few feet, harking back to childhood fantasy fashion.

Dior Courtesy of Dior.

Throughout the collection, hints of red provided a through-line, linking pieces back to the words of Monsieur Dior about the unforgettable hue: “I think a red coat is very nice!” he wrote in The Little Dictionary of Fashion. The bold nature of the color supported the deliberate feministic nature at hand, too, as today is International Women’s Day—a coincidence not missed by Chiuri. As in previous collections, the designer took this sensibility to new heights with artworks commissioned specifically for the show.

Dior Courtesy of Dior.

Five female illustrators from different countries were invited to create animated teasers for social media ahead of the show. The cartoonists—Teresa Cherubini, Aisha Madu, Noriko Okaku, Bárbara Cerro, and Marion Fayolle—were asked to share their imaginative interpretations of femininity, giving a unique perspective with a personal twist. Additionally, the house welcomed back Sharon Eyal (originally seen working with Chiuri for the Dior’s Spring/Summer 2019 collection) to choreograph a new performance piece that embodies emotional change. In the regal atmosphere, dancers in second-skin bodysuits combined dreamlike dimensions with expressive gestures to reel the viewer in through film.

Dior Courtesy of Dior.

“My work with Maria Grazia is an ongoing process. It’s based on a deep connection lending mystery and fragility, questions and dreams,” said Eyal. “It is precisely the movement between those extremes that attracts me, a movement that stands out through a stratified beauty in many layers that can therefore also become disturbing and oblique—not just soothing, but also food for thought. A beauty that comes from within and from experience.”

Dior Courtesy of Dior.

The collection was surrounded by the tactile creations of Italian artist Silvia Giambrone. Positioned throughout the space were her “Mirrors” sculptures, first created in 2018, made of brass, resin, wax, and prickly acacia. Illuminated between the 17 arched windows in the hall and in front of the garden, they reflected a deep sentiment about vulnerability, betrayal, and self.

Dior Courtesy of Dior.

“My research explores the political dimension of intimacy because it is the ground in which our most mysterious forces take root,” said Giambrone. “Through my works, I intend to highlight the violent, raw, and mysterious potential of objects. I’m intrigued by richly decorative objects, because for me they appear to portray, through a precise aesthetic cultural heritage, a kind of ideology of relationships, of what relationships should be, cast into a fairy-tale landscape betrayed by the great difference between the image of a relationship and what the relationship then reveals about itself.”




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