When the first images ofMaria Grazia Chiuri�s thirdDior couture showbegan to trickle in, we were curious. Black-and-white dice, tulle masks, a checkerboard runway�what could it all mean? Likemost of her collections, this one had its roots in the archives. Chiuri was thinking about the Surrealist artist Leonor Fini, whom Monsieur Dior worked with on a gallery exhibition before he became a couturier. Chiuri�s stark black-and-white stripes, polka dots, checks, and abstract motifs made a bolder statement than the delicate tulle gowns we�re used to seeing at Couture Week. A black-and-white checkerboard gown and matching feathered cape was particularly stunning; so much so thatVoguephotographerJason Lloyd-Evansstopped by the atelier to document how it was made.
At first, the dress might appear to be a print or silk jacquard. But according to Dior, the checkerboard pattern was made using 30 meters of triple-silk organza meticulously hand-cut into separate squares, which were then arranged into the checkerboard pattern�a process that took roughly 800 hours. The cape was just as labor-intensive, requiring seamstresses to individually place too many black and white feathers to realistically count. Scroll through Lloyd-Evans�s up-close shots to get a closer look (and if you�ve seen Fr�d�ric Tcheng�s documentaryDior and I, you might even recognize a few of the seamstresses).
Dior also shared photos and a video that shows the (fascinating) process of another memorable look:the sequined gownwith trompe l�oeil �breasts.� Maria Grazia Chiuri lifted the idea from a Ren� Magritte painting, and to create the illusion of �shadows,� eight seamstresses in the atelier spent 600 hours hand-embroidering thousands of flat or cupped metal sequins in varying shades of silver. As the narrator points out in the video, the color and direction of every tiny sequin was meticulously considered, so the results mimicked �light reflecting on the body.� Take a glimpse behind the scenes here, and revisit all of our couture coverage onVogue Runway.