In the two years that Maria Grazia Chiuri has been creative director at Dior, a new kind of feminism has arrived, galvanised by global accounts of abuse in politics, pop and cinema. Her sprightly realism has paired snappy slogan T-shirts with dreamy embroidered dresses in tulle. She is a mother, a wife, an artist, a friend, a daughter—and her Dior dresses all of these archetypes. Just two weeks before her spring/summer 2019 show, we meet in the shadows of the famed Avenue Montaigne store, which is wrapped in youthquake graffiti marking the 50th anniversary of May 1968. Settled on a dove-grey sofa, sipping water from a bottle, Chiuri is both calm and reflective. If she is stressed about the upcoming show, which will include a conceptual dance piece choreographed by Tel Aviv-based Sharon Eyal and some 88 looks, she doesn’t show it—her phone remains out of sight for the next hour. Chiuri, dressed in jeans, a white shirt, and sandals, talks with her hands. As she moves, her fingers flick under the weight of piles of gothic rings and antique stones and around her neck is a fine gold Superman logo pendant—a gift from her 22-year-old daughter, Rachele. “The ‘S’ stands for super mother!” Chiuri laughs.
I read somewhere that Rachele is a big influence on your work. What does she teach you?
There’s a real sense of urgency now. We’re consuming fashion 24 hours a day via social media and it is affecting our attitudes to everything—from the way we look to the way we think.
Years after the television was invented, people became suspicious of it. Just as we are now becoming wary of social media.
How has your mother influenced your idea of feminism?
The T-shirt from your first collection was an exclamation point. A moment that really announced your arrival at Di