The Most Beautiful Photos from Behind the Scenes at Dior Couture

Maria Grazia Chiuri’s signature brand of romantic feminists brought the house down, once again.

By: Samantha Tse
Photography: Alfredo Piola

For Christian Dior’s 70th anniversary, the brand’s designer, Maria Grazia Chiuri, drew inspiration from the founder’s first collection and sent out a series of reworked archival silhouettes reimagined through her feminist lens.

In her research, Chiuri discovered that after the inaugural show, Mr. Dior’s dresses were sold around the world from South America to Asia. The brand’s founder traveled with the gowns, promoting his collection, which was predominantly grey and used masculine fabrics like tweed and flannel. Chiuri wanted to give a nod to the women who supported the brand in the early years, and in keeping with the spirit of travel, she turned to strong female explorers from the turn of the century, such as Amelia Earhart, who provided the inspiration for the makeup look.

This season, the Italian designer focused on men’s tailoring with a feminine slant. Chiuri, who presented her second haute collection for Christian Dior, continued to rework the Bar jacket, but this season’s versions were softened with rounded shoulders and less exaggerated hips. Outerwear was a key focus and included heavy herringbone coats cinched at the waist with thin leather belts that were paired with billowy ankle-length pleated skirts. There was also flannel wrap-neck coats secured shut with contrasting belts but featured a fluidity to its silhouette. Leather aviator jumpsuits with shearling detailing and goggle-inspired sunglasses imbued a sense of sportiness and travel to the otherwise tailored collection.

In keeping with the tradition of haute couture and of the house, Chiuri delivered a procession of ethereal evening wear in delicate chiffon and tulle. Ebullient surfaces were seen throughout from voluminous yet weightless ruffled gowns to densely intricate floral detailing embroidered onto featherweight chiffon dresses.

The collection was a celebration of all things Dior and provided insight into how Chiuri, the first woman to helm the storied brand, will propel the brand forward with her vision of femininity. 

Click through below to check out more from backstage, and to hear how Creative and Image Director of Christian Dior Makeup Peter Phillips created the look.

“This collection is mainly inspired by Christian Dior himself because it’s the 70th anniversary. Maria Grazia really wanted to pay homage to Christian Dior and his first collection,” explained Peter Philips, creative and image director of Christian Dior Makeup.

“When Maria Grazia was doing research, she found out that Christian Dior was sold worldwide after his first collection. There were points of sales in South America, America, Europe, Asia—everywhere, and she wanted to pay homage to the women in the five continents. So that’s where the natural look was born. She linked it to strong women who discovered the world, like Amelia Earhart and women at the turn of the century who did archeology. She wanted all the weathered faces—there was no highlighting and contouring, no lip gloss then, and she said she wanted that kind of look.”

“It’s a very natural base with a big eyebrow. It’s like a boyish eyebrow, or an old man’s,” explained Philips.

Hotel National des Invalids, where the show took place.

“To get that weathered look, I had to glorify it a bit for the catwalk. So we went for the Diorskin Forever Foundation and no powder for a matte finish. I used a semi-matte concealer that blends in with the foundation for a glow-free complexion. On the eyebrows, I made them a bit stronger, more intense but keeping the transparency,” explained Philips.

“I use a tinted eyebrow gel, which I push into the eyebrow to make it a bit more bushy and wild and with more intensity. Then a bit of highlight on the eyelid, very subtly on the middle of the eyelid just to give it a pop. Lips are natural—I just used some lip scrub to prep them, then some Lip Maximizer and that’s it.”

“Maria Grazia’s interpretation about beauty is very much about the individual, natural beauty,” Phillips said.

“The makeup is super simple because Maria Grazia likes simple makeup.”

“It’s about the woman at the turn of the century that discovered newfound liberties such as traveling and exploring.”

“We want to keep that purity,” Philips said of the makeup. “In L.A. (Cruise collection) it was a natural base with a sun-kissed look; last haute couture we did a very natural base, and we added some stars like an accessory, but we want to keep that purity. It makes her collection stronger.”

“In her research, Maria Grazia found there wasn’t much floral in Christian Dior’s first collection. You’d find floral and patterns in some of the evening dresses, but most of the garments were quite structured with lots of grey—flannels and tweeds. More masculine fabrics and structured—almost like an architectural approach.”

The designer Maria Grazia Chiuri backstage.

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