Dior’s creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri recently received France’s Legion of Honour, which praises excellence in civil conduct and greatness. She was given the distinction for “aligning [fashion] with feminism rather than femininity” and using her creative direction to empower all women.
Maria Grazia Chiuri is the first woman ever to lead the creative team at luxury fashion brand Christian Dior. She made her stunning debut during 2017’s Spring-Summer Paris Fashion Week, where the most talked-about piece was a basic white T-shirt that read the words “We Should All Be Feminists.”
The entire show was deemed a “feminist statement” by Vogue. Dior is known for expressions of femininity, but Chiuri decided to share her own definition of feminine through her debut collection. Models wore more stereotypically masculine clothing, like jackets with broad shoulder lining and heavy blazers. The models also wore sneakers instead of heels on the runway. At the same time, she maintained the delicacy of Dior’s original feminine designs: sheer lace, flowery details, and embroidery.
It’s clear from the presentation that Chiuri intended to expand the definition of femininity while showcasing the different types of women that exist.
“The message, really, is that there is not one kind of woman,” she said.
Chiuri has continued to advocate for gender equality since. For Dior’s Fall-Winter ‘18/’19 collection, Chirui paid homage to the second-wave feminism movement from the ‘60s. The collection was inspired by student protests in Paris that occurred in the 1960s, as well as feminist artists like Georgia O’Keefe, Leonor Fini, and Niki de Saint Phalle.
Earlier this year, Chiuri debuted another collection of empowering pieces––white tees that read “Sisterhood Is Global.” Feminism is not something that can happen between individuals, but rather, with women all over the world who band together as a collective.
When a luxury brand as big as Dior proudly uses fashion as a means to address social issues, it becomes easier to encourage change among other fashion and beauty brands. We see you, Maria!