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The BoF Podcast: Dior’s Maria Grazia Chiuri on Female Power

This week on Inside Fashion, ahead of the opening of the UK’s largest retrospective on Christian Dior, Chiuri talks to Tim Blanks about the importance of couture as the first female creative director of the house.

LONDON, United Kingdom — “I’m really happy to put a little stone in this big house,” says Maria Grazia Chiuri after walking through the “Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams” exhibition, opening on Saturday at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, with BoF’s editor-at-large Tim Blanks.

Spanning 1947 to the present day, the retrospective traces the history and impact of the house's eight couturiers, from the founder himself to Marc Bohan and Raf Simons. For Chiuri, this was important. After all, "people remember [the house of] Dior, not all the designers that made up Dior," she says. But as the first-ever female creative director for the historic French fashion house, she admits she sees the Dior woman differently. "I give the same message but with a different voice and a different point of view...because I am a woman, too, and I have a daughter."

The exhibition, says Chiuri, has helped her reflect differently on her own work. “Each curator has a different way to see my job and it gives me another point of view about,” she says.

Chiuri also identified new techniques in the haute couture gowns, some of which are no longer possible today, and emphasised the need to educate the audience on the craftsmanship the maison is known for. More than 200 rare haute couture garments will be on display, including the dress worn by Princess Margaret for her 21st birthday celebrations. For the designer, seeing Christian Dior's 70-year history made one thing evident: "Couture could be coming back."

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