Courtesy of Dior/Frederique DUMOULIN
By definition, haute couture is handmade, from start to finish. The labor-intensive process is hidden in the details, and to the untrained eye, all there is to see is exquisite runway plastered with detailed embroidery, fancy embellishments, and expertise in textile manipulation. But what we rarely think about is the time that goes into it. These made-to-measure designer items are akin to art, and many belong in a museum (some, in fact, do). For Dior’s spring-summer 2022 haute couture collection, sometimes it amounts to 700-plus hours. That’s for one look, specifically. Please pause for silence.
Dior’s closing look—a bodysuit with an overlaid fishnet jumpsuit—is a master class in craftsmanship and artistry. Not only did it take over 700 hours of work (that’s more than 29 days straight, by the way), but no less than three artisans were dedicated to its completion. The intricate dress is made with “in aria” embroidery in silver metal and rhinestone mesh, decorated in vintage lamé roses.
The skillful atelier itself is what creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri wanted to highlight, stating in the brand’s press notes that it is “a living organ where savoir-faire and savoir-être meet and evolve, in the course of a collaboration that constantly reaffirms the magical and scientific language that is haute couture.”
The preceding collection was much the same. A palette of rich neutrals and pristine tailoring contrasted by embellished tights was one of the show’s biggest takeaways, complimented with grandiose metallic eveningwear that Chiuri is known for. The formula she has followed since her appointment in 2016 is marked by her signature quiet opulence (sprinkled with a feminist bent), and this couture season is no different.
The closing number wasn’t even the most arduous one on the runway. That title belongs to Look 59, a beaded dress made with the manpower of eight people and 850 hours of work, just for the record.
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