Dior’s Autumn/Winter 2022 collection was held on July 4th to honour various injustices. The overturning of Roe v. Wade on June 24th 2022, had a moment in the Dior AW22 haute couture show. Maria Grazia Chiuri wore her ‘We should all be feminists’ t-shirt to the show sharing her concerns about the ruling and her hope for the future. I personally thought this was fantastic. However, Roe v. Wade was not the only social issue at the heart of Dior’s AW22 show; the war in Ukraine was at both the heart of the show and the collection itself. The models donned beautiful mixes of prairie and regal Victorian-inspired looks whilst walking against a backdrop by Ukrainian artist Olesia Trofymenko.
The designs were inspired by her tapestry of the tree of life. The set walls were covered in her tapestries of flowers that perfectly complemented the pastoral feeling of the collection. The decision to support an artist in a time of war holds special significance with Dior as a fashion house was founded in the aftermath of World War II. The combination of these two social issues at the AW22 show concludes that one thing was at the heart of this collection: hope.
Dior AW22 Haute Couture Opening Looks
The show opened with a selection of muted neutral looks that seemed to emulate a pastoral or prairie-inspired aesthetic. The combination of pleated blouses, long skirts and loose flowing silhouettes with the neutral colour palette immediately transported me to a countryside landscape or the world of Anne of Green Gables. My favourite look from this folk-inspired subsection was the fourth. It was a delicate folky-style dress in a muted green/grey.
The dress bodice featured pleats with vertical weaving around the waist. The free-flowing pleats of the skirt certainly took centre stage. The folk-inspired dress was paired perfectly with lace-up boots inspired by the Victorian era.
Drawing on the past
The fifth look provided a stark contrast to the previous simplistic country-inspired look. It was closer to the looks that appeared more intricate and almost regal. The square neckline, A-line silhouette and loose sleeves all created a feeling of royalty within the Victorian period. The polarising decision to place these looks next to each other and utilise similar colour palettes made a strong sense of unity.
Look 18 was another of my favourites and perfectly embodied the more regal aspects of the collection. The gown would not be lost on a historical drama, as the scooped neckline and intricately beaded bodice emulated royalty.
Dior’s AW22 Embroidery
Central to the collection was embroidery, paying homage to Trofymenko’s work. Two of my favourite looks fell into this part of Dior’s AW22 collection, look 17 and look 25. Tying in perfectly with the surrounding set and the theme of the tree of life look 17 was a high-necked, full-length gown. It consisted of numerous embroidered flowers sewn together to create a beautiful patchwork of nature. The material resembled a field of wildflowers which tied into the theme of surrounding looks in the collection. Look 25, however, was a much darker representation of embroidery and felt much less natural. The silhouette was again much more regal than some of the more folk-inspired looks. The decision to create such a formal silhouette with natural materials impeccably complicated the binaries that were at play in this collection.
Favourite looks from Dior AW22 Haute Couture
The show later transitioned into a more feminine gothic section of the collection which featured my favourite look. This look was none other than look 57, a beautiful sheer black gown that was simplistic yet intricate. The beauty in this gown is in its fragility; everything about the dress seems delicate. From the sheerness of the fabric to the pleating and especially the neckline. The way the dress sits just on the shoulders but in a position where it appears it could fall off at any moment. Yet it just sits there, perfectly hanging in the balance is a beautiful detail. I think this dress embodies the feeling of hope that is prominent within this collection and this show.
Although it appears delicate, fragile, and as if one wrong move could result in the entire gown crumbling, it is sturdy.
Amelia Gregory is Junior Fashion Lead for SSEDITORIAL. She writes on everything from sustainability to runway. She is our lead contributor for red carpet reviews, so keep an eye out for her latest 'Best Dressed' list. Find her on Instagram: @milly_gregory