mickalene thomas

A portrait of Chiuri, made by Mickalene Thomas for ELLE’s October issue.

Mickalene Thomas

Maria Grazia Chiuri, the creative director of Dior, is looking at me from the sand-gray couch where she is calmly perched in a giant, airy studio in Paris. She’s dressed in jeans, a white blouse, and sandals, with her platinum hair pulled back; around her, everyone is moving. Stylists in face masks consult each other as they study photos on moodboards. Fit models walk down a makeshift catwalk. I try, but fail, to get a glimpse of what, exactly, they are wearing. Chiuri has just released her fall 2020 couture collection as a short film, with models frolicking in ethereal dresses through a lush landscape—online only, the way collections have to be shown during a global pandemic. While the lockdown has been conducive to designing finely crafted, unique pieces, actually making clothes has been tricky. “It’s difficult to travel in Europe. It’s difficult to see things. It’s also difficult to find models,” Chiuri says. “It’s impossible to go fast.”

dior fall 2020 couture

A still from the fall 2020 couture film.

Leslie Moquin

So she’s been taking it slow. Chiuri collaborated on Zoom with her suppliers and with female artisans in India for her cruise 2021 collection, then livestreamed the show in late July from a piazza in Puglia, in southern Italy. Like the rest of us,…

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