With miniature mannequins, Dior unveils post-lockdown collection

Brands are having to unveil their collections online and through film as part of Haute Couture week in Paris, a showcase of high-end craftsmanship and one-of-a-kind outfits, after the presentations usually attended by fashionistas from around the world were cancelled in the wake of the outbreak.

Seamstresses work on creations at Dior workshop ahead of the Haute Couture Online Fall/Winter 2020/2021 collection presentation by designer Maria Grazia Chiuri for fashion house Dior in Paris, France, July 4, 2020. Picture taken July 4, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Dior’s gowns were inspired by female surrealist artists such as photographer Lee Miller and featured intricate embroideries as well as head-to-toe feathers in one lilac look.

Dior tiny dressmaker’s mannequins

The looks were fitted onto 37 tiny dressmaker’s mannequins, which will later be dispatched to top clients around the world, and were presented to the public on Monday through a whimsical film shot by ‘Gomorrah’ director Matteo Garrone.

“We made this project in a very particular moment of our lives,” said designer Maria Grazia Chiuri, who began working on the show remotely under lockdown in Rome, coordinating with seamstresses and production crew who were also at home.

 REUTERS/Charles Platiau

The travelling miniatures echoed a format French couture houses last used during World War Two to try and keep collections going and reach customers.

Chiuri said the label had sought to send the message that “traditions were alive” in Paris.

“It’s a different experience. But I think it’s a beautiful experience,” Chiuri said of working on the film, which featured nymphs and mermaids mesmerized by the couture gowns.

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The Inspiration Behind Chanel’s New Fall/Winter 20/21 Haute Couture Collection

Chanel’s new Fall/Winter 20/21 Haute Couture Collection pays homage to the spirit of Karl Lagerfeld.

The digital Haute Couture Fashion Week has allowed designers to stray away from some of their usual styles and integrate inspirations from elsewhere. 

Chanel’s Couture Collection by creative director, Virginie Viard debuted on the second day of the digital fashion week and displayed a very different approach to stylistic choices than her Spring/Summer Couture collection from earlier this year.

While the preceding collection featured a more dialled down, soft colour palette, Viard’s Fall/Winter Haute Couture Collection showcases bold colours and a more opulent demeanour.

Chanel haute couture Fall/Winter 2020-2021. Photo: Mikael Jansson

“I like working like this, going in the opposite direction of what I did last time. I wanted complexity and sophistication,” says Viard. 

Inspired by Karl Lagerfeld’s ventures to ‘Le Palace’ and the sophisticated and eccentric women he liked to accompany to their parties, a more daring and audacious sentiment is evident in the pieces.

“This collection is more inspired by Karl Lagerfeld than Gabrielle Chanel,” says Viard.

The collection has a punk-like feeling, with sharp cuts and striking silhouettes. “I was thinking about a punk princess coming out of ‘Le Palace’ at dawn with a taffeta dress, big hair, feathers and lots of jewellery,” says the designer.

An almost Vivienne Westwood-esk eleganza can be seen throughout the garments with their rich, velvety shades and valiant glamour.

Chanel haute couture Fall/Winter 2020-2021. Photo: Mikael Jansson

The digitalisation of fashion shows during COVID-19 allowed Viard to add elements she would not do so in a normal live show. She thought to add “things that maybe I would not do in a show—punk hair, fine jewelry.”

Thirty looks make up the collection and Haute Couture customers will receive a portfolio of detailed images captured by Mikael Jansson to make their purchase.

Viard mused an array of things, including the chic and cultivated nature of 19th century art from Germany.

“It’s true that I thought about paintings, but it was more German paintings. But I really had Karl’s world in mind”.

The luxury that is Haute Couture is something that is withstanding the current social climate and its meticulously crafted garments are giving us a glimmer of solace during the sombre days of today.

“For me, Haute Couture is romantic by its very essence. There is so much love in each one of these silhouettes, explained Viard. 

“Haute couture? It’s forever; it’s for always”.

Read more about the full collection at

Chanel haute couture Fall/Winter 2020-2021 full collection. Photographed by: Mikael Jansson