Gardening hats, appliquéd florals, and a set designed by sustainable landscapers paid homage to Miss Dior's passion for botany.

An under-appreciated and little known figure in Dior history, Catherine Dior, Christian Dior’s sister, was an instrumental inspiration for Maria Grazia Chiuri’s latest SS20 collection, kicking off Paris fashion week. Miss Dior, a botanist, French resistance veteran of WWII, a survivor of the Nazi gulag, and one of the few women to ever obtain a license to act as a Mandataire en fleurs coupées, literally translated as a “cut-flowers broker,” perfectly adheres to Dior under Chiuri, who also happens to be the first ever female creative director of the 72-year old brand. Last season, Maria Grazia Chiuri commissioned Penny Slinger, a British-born American artist famous for her feminist surreal works exploring eroticism and the female body. Executing a desire to emphasize environmental action this season, Dior recruited Coloco, a collective of environmental architects and landscapers, to replant the show set’s trees in sustainability projects around the city after the presentation.

With Miss Dior in mind, the collection featured stripes, daintily appliquéd florals, and pastel-hued ombre in traditionally utilitarian materials such as hemp and canvas. The gardening hats shadowed models faces, making it easy to imagine a Catherine Dior in her rose garden looking to a hopeful future. Silhouettes ran the gamut from a practical jacket-short combination, to a relaxed boiler suit, to Chiuri’s signature Grecian neck-lined floor-length evening dresses. The collection felt romantic and diaphanous—symbolic of the breath we should collectively take before subsequently action (taking note from Maria Grazia Chiuri herself) after climate change protests last week. Earthy, pragmatic tones such as beige, muted blues, stone-washed grey, and fleshy pink grounded the garments in the constructed jardín, tying the concept, environmental awareness, and the narrative together beautifully.

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