The one thing that’s giving me comfort in These Times is how many smart people are out there, and how busily they are innovating — not just in science and medicine (although HELLO obviously yes I am real invested in that part of it), but in trying to keep art alive. Fashion is very much a part of that, and in that spirit, Couture Week is finding ways to go on and keep jobs alive even as life slows to a crawl in some places. There is some delightful stuff in here that I hope we get to see on a red carpet someday, even if that red carpet is a swatch someone cut out and put on their living room floor for Instagram photos. And if I’m reading it correctly, these are all miniature prototypes. Per Vogue:
[Maria Grazia] Chiuri enlisted her friend Matteo Garrone, the Italian filmmaker who directed last year’s Pinocchio, to create a short surrealist movie titled Le Mythe Dior.With no runway to design for, Chiuri’s concept for the season was Théâtre de la Mode. In 1945, amid the devastation of World War II and with materials in short supply, Paris designers created clothes for doll forms one-third the size of their human female counterparts. Miniature dresses and tailleurs by 60 French couturiers and their mannequins were displayed at the Louvre and the exhibition was such a marvel—the clothes and accessories were made with such exacting care, with functioning buttons and handbags filled with tiny wallets and powder compacts—it went on to tour the world, raising funds for French war survivors in the process.
During the Zoom preview, Chiuri’s creations were displayed in a prodigious trunk on mannequins, which is how Dior couture clients around the globe will engage with them. Like the “Théâtre de la Mode” wonders of 75 years ago, Chiuri’s scaled-down day looks and gowns were painstakingly made. They truly give the term petite mains new meaning, but she reported that the task this season brought her team and the Dior studio workers—all working from home and all connecting via phone call or video conference during the shutdown—a lot of joy. “The project was very positive,” she said. “Seeing the first prototype, there was a strong spirit of community.” Doll-size clothes are fairly irresistible, as Garrone’s fantasia aims to demonstrate—even a statue can’t resist their allure. But the rewards of satisfying work can’t be underestimated and the movie’s scenes of Dior artisans and seamstresses lovingly filmed working behind the scenes are equally compelling. Amidst the crushing unemployment of COVID-19 time, even more so.