In this time of great uncertainty, Maria Grazia Chiuri turned to the tarot for Dior’s spring 2021 haute couture collection; not only to help forecast the future, but fuel hungry imaginations with a celestial dreamscape. Naturally, Chiuri wasn’t going to pull from just any deck. It was the oldest existing cards in the world, the 15th-century Visconti-Sforza deck, designed by Bonifacio Bembo for the Duke of Milan, that was the jumping off point for the Italian-medieval-inflected couture presentation.
This season’s story came to life in an enchanting short film, Le Château du Tarot, directed by Matteo Garrone and filmed in a Tuscan castle. In tandem with the Renaissance Italy setting, and enchanting lineup of gilded revival gowns and capes, an integral part of this season’s theme was the array of imaginative hairstyles crafted by Italian hairstylist Francesco Pegoretti. “Starting from the esoteric imagery of tarot cards, we wanted to create looks that would best express the visual language that characterizes them,” explains Pegoretti, whom Chiuri gave free rein in helping to characterise the major arcana, the core cards of the tarot deck.
After studying the Visconti-Sforza deck’s illustrations, Pegoretti conceptualized a slew of ornate metallic tiaras in collaboration with the Dior Atelier, ultimately setting them upon a slew of individual Renaissance-inspired updos, from soft cascades of ringlets to cornrowed buns. Among the most theatrical characters brought to life were The Popess, for whom Pegoretti reworked the papal tiara by topping a towering updo with three scaled crowns; The Stars, which saw a gravity-defying crown of silver stars accent a plaited half-up with a duo of loose, clavicle-grazing curls; and The Crescent Moon, made larger-than-life with a model donning a towering platinum half-moon wig (held up by a welded metal frame and covered in several pounds of hair) that took three days to build.
“The looks were developed over time with the clothes suggesting certain hairstyles and vice versa,” explains Pegoretti of building on the iconography of centuries-old, fortune-telling tarot imagery. “However, everything had to maintain a unity, a coherence.” From the more theatrical, out-of-this-world statements to fresh interpretations of romantic medieval and Renaissance-era mainstays, the breadth of hair statements belonged to the same alternate universe—amplifying the presentation’s wondrous escapism, while offering inspiration to get more creative with the cards you’ve been dealt.