In Slavic folklore, nature holds special meaning. Above other flora, trees in particular were places of worship, with rituals and traditions around the tall woody plants dating back as far as the 10th century. The oak tree was believed to be the tree of life, an emblem that is at the heart of Ukrainian artist Olesia Trofymenko’s work — the inspiration behind the Dior Fall 2022 Couture collection.
Maria Grazia Chiuri contemplates this connection between lore and haute couture in a series of mythological garments grounded in technique. Much like landscape painting, the collection may look simplistic from afar, but let us assure you it’s anything but.
In line with her previous couture shows, Chiuri kept the colour scheme fairly neutral, which made the touches of black and blue all the more impactful. The tree of life’s roots, branches and trunk are embroidered on cotton, wool crepe, silk and cashmere. Dresses are adorned with patworks of braids (matching those woven into models’ hair) made of bronze and black lace and guipure. Long, airy dresses made of silk chiffon float down the runway; the iconic Bar jacket is distinguished by vertically smocked fabric and the skirt is structured by ribbons forming a basque. Call it fairycore, whimsigoth or just plain wearable art, but Chirui has found the beauty in tradition.
“This is a matter of shaping materials and forms in the space for reflection that the Atelier represents, permeable to the social reality in which we live; a matter of recalling what it means to be human today,” Dior stated in a release. “Gestures passed on, learned and always perfectible, are repeated. The tree of life is a call, a warning, to make traditions and gestures shine through, allowing us to recover a balance, if only momentarily.”
As for the show’s set, designed by Trofymenko, cultural heritage and craft traditions were the main sources of inspiration. With the theme of memory, the artist brought traditional decorative arts and archival photographs to Paris. And central to it all was the tree of life in all its lush splendor.
Swipe through the gallery below to see the Dior Fall 2022 couture collection for yourself.
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