Maria Grazia Chiuri spun a dark fantasy exploring vanity, beauty and its implications in our social media-filled era, all set in one of France’s most vainglorious locations: the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles

Maria Grazia Chiuri has drawn on classic fairy tales for inspiration, and for fall-winter 2021, the theme continues. Titled Disturbing Beauty, Chiuri borrowed themes from Beauty and the Beast, as well as other works by Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm, exploring vanity and the concept of beauty in our modern age of social media and instant gratification.

“A network of symbols, the tale is hardly just a means of escape: it serves to challenge and revisit stereotypes and archetypes,” the press notes read. “It consists of a narrative projected into the future.”

And Chiuri’s FW21 show setting was nothing if not symbolic: it was set in the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles—one of France’s most magnificently narcissistic royal endeavours (watch Netflix’s Versailles for more background)—which was transformed into a shadowy otherworld by Italian artist Silvia Giambrone, one of thorn-like vines creeping out of gilded mirrors with clouded surfaces.

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It was the perfect setting for the quixotic collection filled with gowns that drew on Dior’s long heritage of haute couture. In the 10-minute film, models stalked the length of the historic hall, their make-up dark and foreboding, their cadence strong and purposeful, and the clothes a dark fantasy that drew you in.

Standouts included a tiered, ruffled number in seafoam green that cascaded into an inky blue, a sheer, pleated midnight blue gown with delicate organza roses (an archival motif, we are told), and the finale gown in a seductive red, shaped into a heart. 

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Of course, a Dior show under Chiuri wouldn’t be complete without a performance, and this season saw the designer tapping on choreographer Sharon Eyal for a haunting spectacle that took us from the fog-filled forests to Versailles’ broodingly magnificent interiors.

This was interspersed between the fashion show, acting as a hypnotic juxtaposition to the glamour of the fashion show. The effect was utterly mesmerising.

Watch the fascinating film above, and then lose yourself in the beauty of our top picks from Dior’s FW21 below that will turn you into the star of your own fairy tale.

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