How exactly does fashion and ‘The body’ come together? This is a central question for Dior’s creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri when designing a new collection. For the maison’s autumn/winter 2023 collection, she looked to reinterpret the post-war era of the 1950s, which was a pivotal time for both the fashion industry and women. Drawing inspiration from the three iconic figures who have played roles in Dior’s long-standing history—Catherine Dior, Edith Piaf and Juliette Gréco—the autumn/winter 2023 collection was modelled after the women’s unwavering philosophy on femininity and rebellion—and by proxy, their extraordinary lifestyles.
With the help of Portuguese artist and creative eye Joanna Vasconcelos, the autumn/winter 2023 show was supported by a monumental set titled ‘Valkyrie Miss Dior’, a proliferation of organic forms that gracefully spanned the runway’s space. The all-encompassing art piece consisted of floral fabrics, lace and embroidery, woven together by techniques such as sewing, knitting and crocheting. The final set was an ode to Catherine Dior, a member of the French resistance and devoted florist.
The collection, which embodied both softness and rebellion, included hints of the maison’s history. Monsieur Dior’s famous floral motifs were reinvented in a mottled fabric and interspersed with metallic thread. Tartan proved to be a statement in a myriad of forms, from coats and skirts to jackets and underskirts. Hues of red, green, yellow and blue took centre stage and painted an image of power and softness all at once. Part of this vision was Dior’s iconic Lady Dior bag, a shining emblem of the maison’s heritage and savoir faire.
First dubbed the Lady Dior after being worn by Princess Diana in 1995, the accessory has become well-known for all that it represents: style, poise and undeniable craftsmanship. Paying homage to the Dior ateliers, the bag is easily recognisable thanks to its soft leather, cannage pattern and compact build. Playful Dior charms often hang off it, proving to be an unmissable finishing touch.
The latest iteration of the Lady Dior exudes an air of timeless opulence and features an illustrious bouquet of six flower varieties in a lustrous black leather. Among them are lilies of the valley and roses, intentionally selected for their three-dimensional depth, and hortensias, for their evocative qualities reminiscent of the Provence region in France.
So what exactly goes into making an icon of the house? First is the careful selection of materials. The soft finish and malleability of lambskin leather ensures smooth contours while preserving the bag’s distinctive structural integrity defined by its clean, unyielding lines. The outline of various flora is then pressed into the lambskin canvas, bearing unique imprints of hortensias, lilies of the valley and roses. However, capturing the multidimensional complexity of the latter two requires the artful layering of the leather. Each leaf and floral embellishment holds its own distinction from the rest as the artisan crafts each flower into its own unique work of art. The array of leather flora and foliage is then carefully stitched and embroidered into the leather exterior of the bag, giving way to a floral mosaic that leaps to life. The Lady Dior is meticulously pieced together from start to finish to form the maison’s artistic interpretation of what it should represent.
Today, the Lady Dior comes in a large array of versions, varying in colour and size. It also sees a bevy of different interpretations from the Lady D-Lite to the Lady D-Joy. Despite its initial make, the options are now endless, from a selection of prints, embroidery, macramé and more. In short, to carry a Lady Dior in 2023 is to make a decided statement. Beyond that, it is a proclamation personality, be it one of elegance and sophistication or playfulness and charm. A work of art in all senses, from the seed of a sketch to a runway icon.