This Maya Angelou quote has always resonated with me, and when I reflected on my most recent experience in Paris with Dior I realised it was why this particular show had so much impact on me.
I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in a number of incredible Dior experiences, but the Fall 2018 Couture presentation would have to be my favourite to date.
I was reflecting on this afterwards and trying to unpick the reasons as to why this one had resonated so deeply, and I’ve realised it was how it made me feel, on two separate levels.
The effort that goes into preparing the space for a fashion show is always incredible – there are links here and here to some of my past favourites – and as soon as I arrived at the Rodin Museum I couldn’t wait to see what awaited inside.
I walked in, and it’s fair to say my mind was blown. The walls were surrounded with toiles, in a set reflective of one of my favorite parts of the Dior 70th Anniversary celebration exhibitions in both Paris and Melbourne last year.
We found our seats, and got the important business of posing for pre-show photos underway.
The show got underway, and it was incredible. The clothes were beautiful – simple, elegant and perfectly executed in the way only the hand worked artisanship of couture can be – but it was an experience that was bigger than just the beauty of the clothes and the models.
The combination of the music, the toiles and the mirrored ceiling made it a fully immersive experience, where you quite literally surrounded by fashion. It was in front of you, around you, above you, coming towards you, going away from you – almost overwhelming, but in the best kind of way, and invoked an incredible feeling.
The thing that I loved most of all though was that this was a presentation intended to highlight the talents of the seamstresses of the atelier, and the craftsmanship that goes into the making of these garments, from the manufacture of the fabrics themselves, through to the embroidery and beading and the eventual construction.
Each of the garments going down the runway were reflected in the toiles around us, allowing an even more detailed appreciation of the work that had gone into their construction.
My big takeaway was that this presentation was all about shining a spotlight on, and celebrating the many roles that go into the delivery of a successful collection – highlighting that it takes so much more than just a talented creative director, which Maria Grazia Chiurri undoubtedly is.
This is true in every business. It’s necessary to have a public face (or faces) to represent the company, but it’s always so important to remember, and something Stuart and I have always been deeply aware of, that none of that means anything without the people who are responsible for translating the company’s vision into reality each and every day.
I loved that Maria Grazia took such a high profile opportunity to celebrate the skills and talents of her team, and shine the spotlight on them. My major takeaway was the feeling that Dior have found a leader who understands the importance of her team and isn’t afraid to share the limelight with them – and I definitely think that is something to be applauded.