Haute couture and fairy tales

The health crisis caused by Covid19 has turned the fashion calendar upside down. Instead of the usual fashion shows, the Federation of Haute Couture and Fashion asked the members to present a video expressing their universe and their know-how. The film presenting Dior’s fall-winter 20-21 haute couture collection, which refers to the dark hours of fashion, is literally magical. Isabelle Cerboneschi

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Just after the Second World War, the French textile industry was bled dry. The couturier Lucien Lelong had saved haute couture and its precious know-how from exile in Germany, as Hitler had wanted, but after years of deprivation, the time was not one for frivolity.

To promote haute couture, the Parisian Chambre syndicale de la couture, Lucien Lelong had the idea of creating a Théâtre de la Mode, a travelling trunk show revealing the know-how of the couturier on little dolls.

The exhibition took place from 28 March to 29 April 1945 and travelled the world until 1946. The artistic director of this propaganda show, intended to give back to Paris its title of fashion capital, was none other than Christian Bérard, who was later one of Christian Dior’s closest friends. 

Due to the crisis at Covid 19, the haute couture week is replaced by a video presentation of the collections. Each couturier expresses his or her art freely.

To present Dior’s autumn-winter 2020-2021 haute couture collection, Maria Grazia Chiuri, the house’s artistic director, had the idea of exhuming the idea of the Fashion Theatre but transposed it to an imaginary country.

The video, with its dreamlike quality, reveals the meticulous work done in the workshop on dolls. These dolls are intended to seduce a very special clientele: elves, fairies, sirens, ondines, populating an enchanted forest.

And what if these little films, which unveil at the same time a know-how, a creative universe, and clothes caught in a movement, were the future of haute couture?