Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Dior’s SS20 Show Played Out Among Trees, Not Flowers. Here’s Why

Dior shows have always been a platform to convey Maria Grazia Chiuri’s activist inspirations, but for spring/summer 2020, the creative director is urging action. The house partnered with Coloco, a collective of botanists and urban landscapers, to create a Paris Fashion Week garden that will continue its life via a series of sustainability projects.

Populated by 164 trees sourced from nurseries in France, Germany and Italy, the green show space highlights the need for bio-diversity to survive climate change. “We discussed what a fashion show with plants has to look like now, and ecological preservation was at the heart of the conversation,” Coloco spokesperson Nicolas Bonnenfant tells Vogue. Many of the trees sourced for the set were in danger of dying because of rising temperatures, and had to be cared for before replantation in the Longchamp racecourse location. “Over the last 10 years, Paris has become a subtropical environment,” Bonnenfant continues. “We now need trees that need less water to drink.”

The Dior sets of seasons past, which literally bloomed with hundreds of temporary roses, are a distant memory. Each plant will find a new home in the wooded areas tended by the GoodPlanet Foundation in Longchamp, the Murs à Pêches site in Montreuil, a former Air Force base in Brétigny-Sur-Orge, and new groves in the heart of the City of Light. LVMH, the Dior parent company under pressure to up its sustainability credentials, has promised that every other element from the spring/summer 2020 presentation will be recycled, too.

“The set is a celebration of nature, the trees are just the architecture,” adds Bonnenfant. “The trees have a past where they have been cultivated, and after the show they will go on to find a new story.” The most important part of the #PlantingForTheFuture exercise for Coloco has been promoting the message of “growth” within the “inclusive garden” narrative. “It’s important to get heads of businesses to teach their employees to be environmentally aware and to grow with them,” he says. As rival conglomerate Kering goes carbon neutral, LVMH will certainly be listening to this advice.

“The message in this collection is the idea of taking care of everyone, of the world we live in, just as Catherine Dior [Christian Dior’s younger sister, who is the muse of the season] and other women in history took care of their gardens,” Chiuri chimes in. “All modern ideas of feminism talk about humans and nature and bringing these two worlds closer together again.”

From the prints and embroideries, which evoke dandelions and thistles, to the gardening-boot style footwear, the spring/summer 2020 catwalk edit sings of the nature that has long inspired the brand. But, Chiuri clarifies, “The idea was not just to think about the garden as inspiration for pretty prints for clothes; that’s not appropriate for the times we are living in. I know the history of the house of Dior very well, so it was about creating a dialogue with the present. Right now, we are all too aware of the importance of sustainability, and the state of the planet.” How these sentiments segue into everyday practices at Dior will prove interesting to watch in the coming months.

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