With its 2024 cruise show, Dior proclaims its love for Frida Kahlo and Mexico City (2023)

Highlights: The luxury house presented Saturday night its cruise show in the former Jesuit college San Ildefonso with a sublime collection celebrating all the emotional force of Mexican culture. Maria Grazia Chiuri, artistic director of Dior, decided to finally realize her dream: to parade the cruise collection of the house in this "constellation of places that generate emotions" as she depicts Mexico in her note of intent. Among the 600 or so guests, including many personalities, the show was attended by Naomi Watts, Rachel Zegler, Riley Keough and Alicia Keys.

The luxury house presented Saturday night its cruise show in the former Jesuit college San Ildefonso with a sublime collection celebrating all the emotional force of Mexican culture.

Sprawling, surreal, plural, magical city... established at more than 2200 meters above sea level, Mexico City does not only make you dizzy, it plays all its superlatives as a supplement of soul. It is in this colorful, captivating megalopolis, former capital of the Aztec empire, now one of the most populated in the world, that Maria Grazia Chiuri, artistic director of Dior, decided to finally realize her dream: to parade the cruise collection of the house in this "constellation of places that generate emotions" as she depicts Mexico in her note of intent. Fascinated by Mexican culture, the Italian designer had already seized the soul of this country during her Dior 2019 cruise collection held in the stables of the Chantilly estate. She was inspired by the "escaramuzas", these Mexican riders who compete on horseback in their traditional petticoat dresses.

The Dior Cruise 2024 show in Mexico City

In pictures

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Ode to Frida Kahlo

Today, it is another emblematic figure of Mexico who has sparked the spark of his creation for this 2024 cruise collection imagined for Dior: that of Frida Kahlo that Maria Grazia Chiuri discovered as a child for the first time in an exhibition in Italy. A few decades later, she again crossed paths with the intimate universe of the Mexican painter, first at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London (2018) and then last year at the Palais Galliera through the exhibition "Frida Kahlo, beyond appearances". In Mexico City, we meet the figure of the legendary artist on every street corner: from the large luxury hotels to the "mercados" of the most picturesque neighborhoods through the famous Caza Azul – a must for all tourists in the megalopolis – where the painter lived most of her life. But beyond her status as a national and global icon, it is above all the way in which this avant-garde woman was able to transcend her broken body – and probably also her heart – that has, in part, inspired Maria Grazia Chiuri.

The Aztec goddess

Frida Kahlo's fashion statements were statements of life. She evolved her style in the same intuitive way she painted. Adopting traditional costumes in a post-revolutionary spirit to honor the customs of his country but also abandoning, after his divorce from the great muralist painter Diego Rivera, his Tehuana costume to dress and cut his hair like a man. The kind to display mustache and mono-eyebrow as a feminist protest against macho social conventions as flowers in her hair or jewelry clashing on her arms. Frida Kahlo had a presence and magnetism that captivated both women and men. When the writer Carlos Fuentes portrayed her when he arrived at the inauguration of the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City in 1934, he wrote: "It was the entrance of an Aztec goddess."

A love story

Strong and fragile at the same time but of a foolproof resilience, we can only understand how much this iconic figure could become a source of inspiration for the feminist creator that is Maria Grazia Chiuri. The place chosen for her Dior cruise show in Mexico City is also quite a symbol: the former Jesuit college San Ildefonso, transformed into an art school, is the place where Frida Kahlo studied but especially the place where she met Diego Rivera, her great love. On Saturday evening, it is in this splendid building located in the historic heart of the capital that the first guests of the parade arrive. It's raining – the rainy season is in full swing – but it doesn't matter. The magic is already palpable in the large tree-lined patio that will serve as a setting for the collection. Frescoes by seven Mexican muralists (including Orozco and Diego Rivera) also haunt the building. Among the 600 or so guests, including many local personalities, the arrival of Naomi Watts, Rachel Zegler, Riley Keough, Laetitia Casta provokes the usual effervescence of the photographers' ball. Alicia Keys, dark glasses, wearing beaded dreadlocks, triggers all the flashes. It is installed on the balconies of the second floor. The show can begin.

The stars at the 2024 Dior Cruise show in Mexico City

In pictures

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View slideshow14 photos

The magic of the feminine masculine

The models, with brown hair, all wearing two lovely braids meeting in the back, advance into the patio. From each passage emerges an emotional force that transcends rain and night. Heroines in black dresses and lace collar, white shirts and loose belted skirts, dressed in huipils – the traditional tunic – revisited in refined versions, follow one another in an atmosphere as poetic as solemn. "Frida Kahlo" in power, thick eyebrows, cowboy boots in red and black leather on the feet, which naturally sublimate their femininity with necklaces adorned with golden butterflies. Butterflies - symbols of metamorphosis - are everywhere in this collection, in flight of jewels, on the belts and also populating the pajamas ensembles in toile de Jouy illustrating the Mexican flora and fauna. Velvet is honored in a captivating palette of colors; shortened versions of the Bar jacket are invited enhanced with embroidery. Girls also pass in beautiful three-piece suits or tuxedos inspired by Frida Kahlo's photos when she played the tomboys. Then a pink dress – like the one that appears on the painter's self-portraits – suddenly illuminates this particular atmosphere imbued with magical realism.

Embroidery made in Mexico

In this sober and poetic collection that avoids any pitfall of a revisited folklore, many pieces have been made in collaboration with Mexican craftsmen. This is often the case in Dior's cruise collections, whose idea is also to celebrate local know-how around the world. Here, Maria Grazia Chiuri has gathered around her several generations of artisans from different regions of Mexico. The collaborative process ranges from the creation of original pieces, mixing embroidery and weaving, to others from the Dior archives as well as the commissioning of shirts and huipils made by the communities.

For example, there is the work of Narcy Areli Morales who founded Rocinante, a brand committed to revitalizing Oaxaca's know-how in 2012. For this show she supervised the production of an embroidery technique made by a community of Mixtec women that represents birds and plants represented by geometric shapes. These motifs enhance the jackets, shirts and skirts of the collection. Another exceptional collaboration: these pieces of jewelry created according to the goldsmithing techniques of the Plata Villa workshops in Mexico City. Using fine silver and the technique of openwork, they imagined rings, pendants and bracelets around the butterfly.

Feminist artistic performance

At the end of the show, a series of models line up together dressed in cotton chiffon dresses from the Dior archives on which feminist words and symbols have been sewn in red thread. This performance was conceived by the Mexican artist Elina Chauvet whose aesthetic work unfolds around the theme of femicides and the silence that surrounds them, particularly in the state of Chihuahua where she was born. Maria Grazia Chiuri invited her to her fashion show, reaffirming her major support for feminist art. A thoughtful finale that only underlines all the power of this collection whose beauty will also remain in the memories and history of Mexico City.


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