For her latest excursion, Maria Grazia Chiuri takes us to Mexico City for Cruise 2024. Specifically, the Colegio de San Ildefonso provided the venue, a school that counts Frida Kahlo as part of its alumni.
Wishing to pay tribute to the many facets of her host country, creative director Chiuri has worked to shine a light on the creativity and fine craftsmanship that are integral to Mexican culture and has been a source of inspiration to Dior since 1947.
In particular, Chiuri looked to the Tehuana clothing of the Zapotec women for reference, and they showed up on the runway with huipil-style tops and floor-skimming pleated skirts that swished elegantly as the models walked. Looks were mostly relaxed in fit but cinched in at the waist with thick metal belts.
Speaking about how Mexican fashion influenced her design, she responded that it was mostly about the unfussy nature of shapes. “The shapes are very simple. They use the square, the circle, and the rectangle,” she explained at a preview. “That really interested me.” Chiuri drew on this geometry for square-neck blouses, trapeze skirts and rounded hems, all rendered in exquisite lace and embroidery typical of the luxury house.
We also saw dapper three-piece suits (also inspired by Kahlo) given a slightly relaxed finish, embroidered cowboy boots, butterflies and other native flora and fauna used as motifs throughout, and crisp whites that were finished off with opulent accessories and polished cropped jackets. Some notable looks included a pink off-shoulder dress reminiscent of one worn by Frida Kahlo in one of her self-portraits, as well as a string of closing dresses.
After a striking Pre-Fall show in Mumbai, India, earlier this year, it’s clear how driven Chiuri is to spotlight local crafts. In sharing Dior’s global spotlight, she cements the importance of preserving age-old crafts.
“It’s important not only for Dior but for the whole fashion system,” she said about her mission. “We’re living in a moment when we have to transform. I really believe in fashion, but we have to work in a different way.”
For this collection, this involved working with the likes of Hilan Cruz Cruz, a Nahua weaver, and a co-founder of the Yolcentle textile workshop. There was also a slew of artisanal textiles, from Pedro Meza Meza, the founder of Sna Jolobil, Remigio Mestas, and Narcy Areli Morales, who established Rocinante, a company that strives to reinvigorate traditional craftsmanship in Oaxaca.
Elsewhere, Chiuri worked with the Morenos, a family of traditional hat makers, and Rafael Villa Rojas, who holds jewellery workshops in Mexico City. The closing few looks of white cotton dresses that featured intricate red embroidery were all down to the Mexican Elina Chauvet, an artist and activist who joined forces with a collective of female artisans to create the artwork.
This article originally appeared on Grazia International.