MILAN – Dior creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri lured the French fashion house to her childhood haunt of Lecce, in southern Italy, to preview the 2021 cruise collection with a live destination show Wednesday that has become a fashion world rarity in the coronavirus era.
But the show almost didn’t happen.
‘’It is a decision we took in a very difficult moment,’’ Dior CEO Pietro Beccari said in a phone interview. ‘’It was against all odds, in April, when the question was: Do we stop the work with the local artists? Do we stop the work we have started?’’
Beccari said even though Italy's coronavirus lockdown was still in force, Dior decided to go ahead with the show previewing 90 looks also to support the local artists and artisans who had already been engaged. Chiuri chose Lecce in a nostalgia bid, having spent many summers in the Salento region where her father was born.
The original date was postponed from May 9, too close to the first easing of Italy's lockdown, and guests were limited to fewer than 80, mostly friends and family members of the designer and CEO, plus relatives of the artists.
‘’We did it with a lot of optimism, and trust, and with a big sense of responsibility,'' Beccari said.
During the show in front of the city’s Duomo cathedral, models walked past an elaborate installation of colored lights by artist Marinella Senatore, typical of a street festival in the southern Puglia region. An orchestra from the Notte della Taranta folk music festival played from a band shell as dancers wove in and out of the models’ path.
The looks, which had a couture peasant feel with corseted waists, smocks and kerchiefs, included fabrics from the Constantine textile laboratory, an association of women in the town of Uggiano La Chiesa who maintain a lace-making tradition