It doesn’t take divination to understand why more and more folks are being drawn to religious or spiritual acts these days: Between the Covid-19 crisis, climate change and global political unrest, things feel more uncertain than they have in quite some time. To then see the art of tarot serve as inspiration for designers isn’t surprising — after all, few love the mystical quite like the fashion crowd. Christian Dior himself was said to be a big fan of this kind of cartomancy, a fact which current house creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri used as a jumping-off point in creating Dior‘s Spring 2021 haute couture collection.
Chiuri was inspired by the Brera-Brambilla tarot deck created by Bonifacio Bembo for the Duke of Milan in the 15th century, specifically. Its rich gilded palette loaned itself to a collection packed with ultra-luxe fabrics — lace, jacquard, velvet, chiffon and silk toile, to name a few — in lush colors, creating a tapestry worthy of its Renaissance inspiration. The shapes, too, carry the feel of historic nobility. But for every Renn-faire ready cloak, there was sharply-cut suiting; for every princess-worthy pearl headband, a pair of modern laser-cut booties.
Covid-19 restrictions having returned in full force, Dior abandoned the runway format in favor of reuniting with director Matteo Garrone on another short film. (He directed the visuals for the house’s Fall 2020 couture debut.) Entitled “Le Chateau du Tarot,” it follows a young woman from a tarot reading through a castle — the Sammezzano, located in the Florence region of Italy, for those curious — filled with characters representing some of the major arcana: Temperance, the High Priestess, Justice and the Fool.
At the risk of advocating for fashion without meaning, it’s much easier to enjoy Chiuri’s work when it’s unburdened by the layers of feminist messaging she tends to heap on top of her ready-to-wear runways. Pieces in the Spring 2021 Haute Couture collection hearken back to some of her best work as one half of a Valentino design duo with Pierpaolo Piccioli.
See the complete Dior Spring 2021 Haute Couture collection in the gallery below: