While the sun was setting in the hills of the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Reserve, and hot air balloons prepared for take off, Maria Grazia Chiuri’s Dior Cruise 2018 collection, inspired by elements of house founder Lascaux’s collection of 1951, in which he took elements from ancient cave paintings that were discovered in southwestern France, walked down a runway called: mother earth.

[Read more about it via beloved Charlotte.]

Dior’s Creative Director Maria Grazia Chiuri didn’t hold back with her sophomore Resort collection for the storied French house. Last year, Chiuri transported fashion’s finest to a garden (albeit a fake garden) maze within a tent within the gardens of the Musée Rodin. This year, Dior took a more far-flung excursion and invited the fashion pack to Santa Monica Mountains Nature Preserve in the California desert.

While primitive prints were the main focus of the collection, Chiuri’s desert backdrop was an effective setting for a collection largely punctuated by easy, breezy silhouettes. Everything was unapologetically bohemian. Silky dresses floated down the dirt runway with a dreamy, blown-up ease, and looks were accessorized with embroidered flat-brim hats.

Chiuri actually discovered that Monsieur Christian Dior was fascinated by these ancient caves when mining his archive, as his “Ovale” collection of 1951 featured prints inspired by the cave paintings. For Resort 2018, Dior’s leading lady offered a modern interpretation of Dior’s winding archive, and the result is resolutely feminine and mystical.

As the House of Dior explains it….:

“The  discovery  of  the  Lascaux  cave,  in  1940,  had  a  profound  influence  on  the  artists  of  the  time.  For  Georges  Bataille,  it  represented the dawn of the human race. The power with which animals are depicted (deer, horses, oxen) takes us back to the infancy of mankind and its relationship to nature, as well as the invention of art. In 1951, Christian Dior appropriated these rock paintings, making a print from them for his Ovale line, a form with allusions to primitive female depictions such as the Willendorf Venus. It  is  this  wild  and  ancient  femininity,  linked  to  the  magic  of  the  earth,  that  guided  Maria  Grazia  Chiuri,  Artistic  Director  of  the Dior  women’s  collections,  throughout  the  creation  of  her  first  cruise  collection  for  the  House.  

Thus a  feminine representation takes shape, bringing into the present this shamanic intuition, this wild, almost bestial spirit of which Clarissa Pinkola Estés writes in one of the designer’s favorite books:  Women Who Run with the Wolves.

Maria  Grazia  Chiuri  is  constantly  seeking  new  ways  to  embrace  and  explore  the  Dior  heritage.  And  it  is  the  prehistoric  wolves which emerge from the Lascaux cave to take their place on extraordinary silk jacquards where the ocher, almost gold in color, contrasts  with  blacks.  Female  handprints,  reinterpretations  of  the  original  forms,  become  magnificent  sequined  embroideries  in earthy  shades. 

Maria Grazia Chiuri has appropriated the savoir-faire of the Dior ateliers, reinventing it to tell her story in ideal forms. A story that alters proportions and lengths to correspond to the contemporary landscape, in which sport mixes with haute couture, where tradition becomes ornamental abstraction and where materials see their status changed.

The celebration of instinct leads her to female figures who have chosen to isolate themselves in the desert to better understand the deepest and darkest recesses of the self. Such is the image of an artist like Georgia O’Keeffe, emerging from the sands of New Mexico.  A hieratic figure occupied with collecting carcasses. This is what Vicki Noble writes in Shakti  Woman: Feeling Our Fire, Healing Our World:  “I want to know myself from my sacred center, and in that space I want to know and touch others.” Maria Grazia Chiuri has  also brought a pop interpretation to her use of the tarots given a high-octane feminist reinvention by Vicki Noble and Karen Vogel in Motherpeace in order to give new life to Monsieur Dior’s beloved art of divination. The idea that a person’s smell is  the expression of their soul can be found in the feminine take on an emblematic perfume such as Eau Sauvage. The intangible imprint of this wild, erratic figure restores woman once again to her place at the center of the world”.