Photography by Sophie Carre. RIGHT: Dior Twin-set shirt and cardigan, skirt, belt, bracelets, necklace, and earring, available at Dior boutiques nationwide. Phototography by Jara Garcia Azo.
There’s a staccato rhythm that builds. It’s accompanied by fluid choreography punctuated by sharp, deliberate movements. Flamenco is known for its signature costumes, passionate storytelling, and music that races and lingers in equal measure. This isn’t the kind of beat you can easily anticipate or clap along to, but it drives a spellbinding performance, just the same.
At Christian Dior’s 2023 Resort show, the traditional dance and the city where it originated were both centre stage, as Maria Grazia Chiuri’s collection celebrated all things Seville. After experiencing the city’s combination of artistry and history with a cocktail reception at the Alcázar of Seville (a 10th-century, Mudéjar-style palace), attendees arrived in horse-drawn carriages at Plaza de España for the main event. The brand’s creative director of women’s haute couture, ready-to-wear and accessories collections says the location “epitomizes the fusion of aesthetics characteristic of Seville…I wanted the audience to feel as if they were in the heart of the world’s flow, surrounded by art and architecture.”
Dior dress, bracelet, and rings, available at Dior boutiques nationwide. RIGHT: Dior dress, available at Dior boutiques nationwide. Phototography by Jara Garcia Azor.
In her first post-pandemic runway show, Chiuri embraced a return to festivity and spectacle. But every element—from the grand scale to the fine details—was intentionally rooted in local Spanish tradition. As the predominantly red and black collection was unveiled, nearly 50 Andalusian dancers performed choreography by Franco–Spanish performer Blanca Li. Meanwhile, composer Alberto Iglesias, who is known for his collaborations with Oscar-winning director Pedro Almodóvar, wrote sweeping original music to set the tone.
The 110 looks were equally in step with the setting and its ties to flamenco. From the moment guests–including model Elle Macpherson, Italian influencer Chiara Ferragni, and Bridgerton actress Charithra Chandran among them—received their invites, the Italian-born designer’s inspiration was evident. The invitations featured an image of flamenco dancer Carmen Amaya, who became known as La Capitana. In the ’50s, she was the first performer to wear a traditionally male costume. “Through the gestures of dance, she unites strength and fragility. Expressing the soul of Spain, she interpreted a form of self-aware femininity,” says Chiuri of her muse.
Dior dresses, available at Dior boutiques nationwide. Photography by Alessandro Garofalo.
There were tiered, flamenco-inspired skirts, as well as off-the-shoulder dresses. The brand’s iconic bar jacket, Lady Dior handbag, and saddle bags were also reimagined for the collection. As equestrian looks parade through Plaza de España, each began to include one more voluminous element than its predecessor. High-waisted pants were paired with riding boots and a classically tailored jacket. Then, similar pants appeared again, only with a ruffled blouse, an embroidered cape, or worn with a belted overskirt. Chiuri proved, yet again, that pragmatic clothing doesn’t have to lack elegance, sophistication, or a little romance.
Since she was appointed Dior’s first-ever female creative director in 2016, Chiuri has ushered the brand into its feminist era. Her philosophy was made immediately clear when her Spring 2017 debut included the “We Should All Be Feminists” t-shirt, which quoted the 2014 essay by Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Rihanna, Karlie Kloss, Natalie Portman, and more were quickly spotted wearing the statement piece. It was clear from the outset that she designed clothing meant for women to wear in their multi-faceted, everyday lives (as opposed to those strictly intended for the stage or red carpet). In Seville, she explored this theme through her collection’s contrasts between masculine and feminine silhouettes. She also examined the juxtaposition between Dior’s global customer base with a smaller, localized view of fashion.
Dior jacket and pants, available at Dior boutiques nationwide. Photography by Jara Garcia Azor. RIGHT: Atelier in Valencia.
“Embroidery holds an important place in all my collections. I am fascinated by the different techniques that span and connect distant territories, creating a universal language: from Italy to India, from Paris
to Seville,” says the designer. Ahead of the show, she travelled throughout Southern Spain and recruited local artisans to contribute to the collection. One such stop was to the Jesús Rosado atelier, where they specialize in gold and silver embroidery. Their work is typically added to ceremonial robes worn in religious ceremonies or used to dress Madonnas in processions. “During my visit, I was impressed by the organization of the work, which is highly similar to that of a couture atelier,” she says. They were tasked with adding metallic, three-dimensional embellishment to the Lady Dior bag, among other pieces.
They weren’t the only Spanish artisans working behind the scenes. The Abanicos Carbonell atelier—known for making accessories for more than 200 years—created the lace fans seen on the runway. The Fernández y Roche atelier also created hats from felt and straw, dressed up with signature Dior details. Goldsmiths at the Orfebrería Ramos, who are known for producing decorative objects typically seen in churches, also worked with Chiuri and her team to design jewellery. “In Spain, leather work reaches the highest levels of perfection,” she says, “as demonstrated in the making of the gloves that play an important role in this collection.” In a world where fashion can tend to feel more and more homogenous, it was admirable to see Chiuri not only take inspiration from a specific place, but make the effort to create pieces that truly could only come from Seville. Though there currently isn’t a Dior boutique in the city, her fondness for the place, its people, and their craftsmanship were felt throughout the show.
In her time at Dior, it’s been thrilling to see the direction she’s taken the historic label. Much like the guitar music playing during a flamenco performance, there’s no telling where Chiuri’s inspiration will lead her next.
Dior Resort 2023, price upon request, available in Dior boutiques nationwide.