Fashion house Dior's latest catwalk at Paris Fashion Week saw a large-scale, kaleidoscopic installation by artist Joana Vasconcelos suspended above the Autumn Winter 2023 runway, which was decorated with fabrics from the collection.
The show took place on 28 February in a purpose-built structure in the Jardin des Tuileries, Paris.
An opening on the east-facing elevation punctuated the "Dior"-embellished white box and marked the entrance to the show space.
In this opening, and at the top of a series of steps, stood a multi-coloured five-point sculpture by Vasconcelos that provided the show's attendee's with a glimpse at what was to be revealed from the interior.
Measuring 24 metres long and seven metres tall, the installation was titled Valkyrie Miss Dior and was made completely by hand.
It sprawled across the interior of the purpose-built structure and formed a series of undulating volumes that stretched above the runway and tear-dropped to the floor at various points throughout the show space.
The suspended amorphous structure, and its frozen-in-time droplet counterparts, was made entirely from textiles and was clad, wrapped and embellished in knitted, sewn and crocheted fabrics and objects – a medium synonymous with and repeatedly explored in Vasconcelos's work.
"Her monumental work dreamed up for this Dior event occupies the space in an almost tentacular manner," said Dior.
"Its free-form, organic, from which it feels impossible to escape, is composed of fabric, lace, embroidery and crochet compositions, including 'islands,' where the audience is invited to sit."
"For this unique show, [Maria Grazia Chiuri] asked the Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos... to occupy the venue with one of her monumental installations – entitled Valkyrie Miss Dior – a proliferation of organic forms interacting with the architecture," Dior continued.
"The techniques habitually explored by this artist – sewing, knitting, crochet – typically associated with the feminine realm of artisanal savoir-faire, contrast with the giant and visual character of her work specially conceived for Dior."
The fabrics and textiles that were used across the surface of the installation were taken directly from Dior womenswear creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri's collection, which was presented beneath the one-tonne structure.
"Incorporating 20 different fabrics from the collection, it dialogues with the models and the public as well, in a choreographic way," said Vasconcelos. "It celebrates the dialogue between human bodies, the inhabited clothing and the present space. Between haute couture and visual arts."
The collection paid homage to Christian Dior's sister, Catherine Dior, who was a member of the French Resistance and dedicated a lot of her life to flower trading.
From this, Vasconcelos created a dominating installation that incorporated typically feminine methods of craft that aimed to complement the story of Catherine Dior.
Vasconcelos is a Portuguese artist whose work is said to be an updated arts and crafts concept that is applied to the 21st century. Her work makes use of everyday objects that aim to add irony and humour to her pieces, while discussing broader themes such as the status and role of women in society.
For Dior's Spring Summer 2023 womenswear show, the brand collaborated with artist Eva Jospin who created a series of grottos and caves from stacked and layered corrugated cardboard while its menswear show saw Villa Eugénie create a replica of Christian Dior's childhood home and a garden with 19,000 flowers
Paris Fashion Week takes place from 27 February to 7 March.
The photography is by Adrien Dirand, courtesy of Dior. See Dezeen Events Guide for information about the many other exhibitions, installations and talks taking place throughout the month.