Step inside the contemporary Dior mind with ‘Dior Talks’, a series of podcasts aimed at bringing together both the people who directly shape the creative direction of the House and those whose artistic, cultural or intellectual impact influence its narrative. The sixth series, ‘Feminism’, focuses on the women who have inspired Maria Grazia Chiuri, both professionally and personally, and who have been involved in the bold collaborations with the House that the Creative Director of Women’s collections has orchestrated and championed since her arrival in 2016. These podcasts provide a stimulating outlet for the voices of these influential and empowered figures, who talk openly and honestly about their lives, their motivations, the challenges they’ve overcome and their hopes for the future. The series is hosted by Justine Picardie, the London-based journalist and biographer.
[Heritage] Maria Grazia Chiuri and Justine Picardie unpick the multilayered heritage of Dior to reveal some surprising synchronicities
16:18This latest episode in the ‘Dior Talks’ podcast series broaches the topic of heritage. In it biographer and journalist Justine Picardie speaks with Maria Grazia Chiuri, Creative Director of Dior women’s collections, about the parallels between Monsieur Dior’s burst of creativity brought on by his emergence from the trauma and privations of war and the moment in history through which the world is currently living. The importance of the founding couturier’s relationship with his younger sister Catherine - coincidentally the subject of Picardie’s new book ‘Miss Dior: A Story of Courage and Couture’ - is explored as more than simply a familial relationship. Instead, the pair discuss how so many aspects of Monsieur Dior’s creativity and the long-established House codes that resulted can trace their source to this sibling bond. The fortune-telling and tarot cards that would shape so many of Monsieur Dior’s decisions - and inspire the House’s various creative directors, right up to Maria Grazia Chiuri today - grew from an initial fascination with the divinatory arts to a key source of comfort and hope when Catherine was imprisoned during WWII and all contact with her vanished. After she was freed and found, these emotions would be translated into the New Look, a sartorial reflection of optimism that produced extraordinarily architectural clothes that balanced an idea of protection with one that celebrated feminine and floral beauty. A keen gardener, Catherine would go on to cultivate flowers in the south of France, near her brother’s summer estate, that would provide ingredients for several of the House’s famous fragrances. This fascinating exchange, delving into the overlapping and layering of occurrences and inspirations, pulls back the curtain to plumb the hidden and unnoticed depths of the Dior heritage story.
[Feminism] Justine Picardie talks to Dior’s very own Creative Director of Women’s collections Maria Grazia Chiuri & her daughter Rachele
30:39Welcome to ‘Feminism’, the new series of ‘Dior Talks’ podcasts, hosted by Justine Picardie. ‘Dior Talks’ creates fascinating spaces for expression, exploring the imaginations and discourses of the artists and thinkers who influence Maria Grazia Chiuri. ‘Feminism’ engages in dialogue with the women who have inspired the Creative Director of Women’s collections and taken part in bold, empowering collaborations with the House. An exceptional roster of guests shares the magic of their thinking and the key moments of their careers with biographer and journalist Justine Picardie. In this very special, two-part episode, Justine Picardie goes back to the origins of it all with Maria Grazia Chiuri herself, who was the guest on the very first ‘Dior Talks podcast’ on the subject of feminist art in March last year. On this occasion she is joined by her dynamic daughter and muse Rachele Regini, to delve deep into the issues and passions which drive them both in the work they do and the intellectual and creative journeys on which they embark. Maria Grazia Chiuri needs little introduction. She has been at the helm of Dior since 2016, creating the ready-to-wear and haute couture collections for the House and pursuing a radical, multi-generational and multinational manifesto for contemporary womenswear. This year she published ‘Her Dior: Maria Grazia Chiuri's New Voice’, featuring the work of over thirty of the photographers with whom she has collaborated for the House. Rachele Regini is her daughter with husband Paolo Regini and was raised in Rome. She studied Art History and then Gender Studies at the prestigious Goldsmiths College of Art in London and now lives and works in Paris, where she is a cultural advisor in the Dior creative department. In this episode, the trio discuss the meaning of sisterhood, the female spirit through the generations and the challenges of female creativity past and present. Maria Grazia Chiuri reminisces about her journey to a career in fashion and the changes which have taken place in the roles which women can now play in the industry. Like the Creative Director’s own mother, women were historically expected to be dressmakers, while men became couturiers. Paradoxically, they talk about the huge changes in fashion wrought by Monsieur Dior and how his New Look revolutionized the way women dressed. Regini elaborates on how her studies and research, into politics, gender, art and activism, have influenced her own style and the dialogue around stylistic and political principles which she shares with her mother. Crucially, the two also discuss manhood, and how the modern notion of masculinity can be reinterpreted, how fashion can play a vital role in removing stereotypes and redefining sexual politics. Both mother and daughter are avid readers and passionate advocates for women’s genius and liberation, and the ways in which fashion can express and promote both.
[Feminism] Felicity Jones talks about acting, gender politics and her rejection of all-male environments
25:21Welcome to ‘Feminism’, the latest series of ‘Dior Talks’ podcasts, hosted by Justine Picardie. ‘Dior Talks’ creates fascinating spaces for expression, exploring the imaginations and discourses of the artists and thinkers who influence Maria Grazia Chiuri. ‘Feminism’ engages in dialogue with the women who have inspired the Creative Director of Women’s collections and taken part in bold, empowering collaborations with the House. An exceptional roster of guests shares the magic of their thinking and the key moments of their careers with biographer and journalist Justine Picardie. This episode finds actress Felicity Jones talks about the huge changes which have taken place in the worlds of theater, film and television in the last few years, with the advent of the #MeToo movement and the increasing challenge to patriarchal structures. Through her more than twenty-five-year career, Jones has seen a revolution in gender politics across the board and has been witness to the exposure of the misogyny which she herself has experienced in the industry. She and Picardie also discuss women in the history of literature, both in drama and prose, and how long it has taken film and television to catch up with the central role which female characters have always had in the culture and canon. Felicity Jones was born in Birmingham in 1983, to an advertising executive mother and journalist father. She started acting at age 11, in an after-school workshop run by Central Television. At 14 she was starring in the TV series The Worst Witch and had a long-running role in the BBC Radio 4 soap opera The Archers. She has starred in many major television productions in the UK, as well as in the USA, and has appeared in numerous stage plays, including at the Donmar Warehouse and Royal Court Theatre. In 2011, she won a Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Festival and has also been nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards, the BAFTAs and the Golden Globes. In 2018, she starred in On the Basis of Sex, a biography of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Here, Picardie and Jones get to the heart of the female experience of the world of acting. Picardie is a longtime admirer of the actress’s work, and their conversation travels from industry dynamics, the frustrations of working on an all-male set, the snail’s pace of the industry’s promotion of women’s leading roles and the changes and challenges which Jones has seen and overcome. They delve into the problematic notion of male genius and its erasure of historic female collaboration, and they discuss the remarkable life and career of Bader Ginsburg. The actress is a fan of Maria Grazia Chiuri and has worn her creations for Dior many times, and at many key events in her career. As she herself puts it, Chiuri designs clothes which a woman “can wear down the pub”, an apt expression of the feminism and freedom which fashion can nurture.
[Feminist Art] Katy Hessel talks to artist Eva Jospin, responsible for the huge embroidered work at the most recent haute couture show
37:11Welcome to this 11th episode of the Dior Talks podcast ‘Feminist Art’. This series explores the connections between Creative Director of Women’s collections Maria Grazia Chiuri, and contemporary women artists and curators. In this episode, series host Katy Hessel, a London-based curator, writer and art historian, speaks with Eva Jospin, the French artist whose monumental embroidered work lined the walls of the show space at the Musée Rodin for the Autumn-Winter 2021-2022 haute couture collection unveiled on July 5, 2021. Eva Jospin was born in Paris, France, in 1975. She gave up her initial interest in architecture to study sculpture at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris, preferring the physicality of the process. Graduating in 2002, she has become known for her sculptural work using cardboard as a material, building up and combining its flat planes to create striking and very often large-scale pieces of complex depth depicting forests, caves, and country homes. With her art having been exhibited in prestigious locations such as the Palais de Tokyo, Manufacture des Gobelins, Musée du Louvre and the Hayward Gallery, she has also been an artist in residence at the Villa Medici in Rome. It was while in Rome that she discovered the Sala dei Ricami at the Palazzo Colonna, a sumptuous room entirely upholstered in Indian-inspired embroideries. It would prove the inspiration for her collaboration with Maria Grazia Chiuri, a “project that went from big to huge”. Her initial drawings would be developed into a work 40 meters long and 350m2, embroidered by hand by the Chanakya ateliers and the Chanakya School of Craft in Mumbai, India, a phenomenal undertaking requiring in the region of 300 artisans deploying some 400 colors of silk thread in 150 variations of traditional techniques. In this episode she discusses how she looked to the palette of post-Impressionist painter Edouard Vuillard and the way he built color and perception of depth by utilizing the canvas itself as an intrinsic element. She speaks about how the name of her awe-inspiring installation ‘Chambre de Soie’ (‘Silk Room’), is also a reference to Virginia Woolf’s seminal feminist treatise ‘A Room of One’s Own’, known as ‘Une Chambre à Soi’ in French. With the use of textiles a complete departure, she opens up about embracing this new form of artistic expression and the process behind appreciating the scale and conceiving a visual flow for her expansive installation.
[Feminist Art] Katy Hessel talks to musical artist Ioanna Gika who performed at the Cruise 2022 show in Athens, Greece
37:07Welcome to this 10th episode of the Dior Talks podcast ‘Feminist Art’. This series explores the connections between Creative Director of Women’s collections Maria Grazia Chiuri, and contemporary women artists and curators. In this episode, series host Katy Hessel, a London-based curator, writer and art-historian, speaks with musical artist Ioanna Gika, the Greek-American musical artist who performed at the Cruise 2022 show held in Athens, on the evening of June 17, 2021. Ioanna Gika was born in Washington D.C. She spent her childhood between Greece and the United States, returning to live at her mother’s Greek home after her father’s death, when she started to write her first album, “Thalassa” (“Sea”) about her life and homeland. She is based in Los Angeles where, in 2009, she founded the band Io Echo with Leopold Ross. They released their debut album in 2013 and have supported Nine Inch Nails, Garbage and Florence + the Machine amongst others. They have performed at the Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals, and Gika has written and performed for movies and television consistently since 2012. Having already performed at the Cruise 2018 show in Los Angeles, Maria Grazia Chiuri was delighted to invite her to collaborate with the House again. On the night, with a live orchestra and multimedia accompaniments, she recited a poem that reflected her roots in Greece and her rich, powerful voice resonated through the Panathenaic Stadium, the first stone of which was laid over 2500 years ago. She talks about this electrifying experience and the feeling of connection to the past which she felt as she performed. Having toured and sung widely around the world, she notes how unique and different this occasion was and how profoundly she seemed to be grounded in the moment. The monumental location itself possesses a huge significance. Constructed in white marble, it was a primary setting for the first modern Olympic Games. Its length symbolizes an ancient unit of measurement and, crucially for both the singer and Maria Grazia Chiuri, it was the first place in Classical Greece where women could freely appear and socialize in public. Ioanna Gika reflects on notions of the word ‘race’ – the human race, the race against time, to participate in a race. The conjunction of these meanings in the stadium created a poignant combination of symbols and thoughts for her. She goes on to consider the personal and social significance of clothes, both in general and also the creations in the collection and the remarkable outfit specially designed for her. Like Maria Grazia Chiuri, she is inspired by the colors of Greece, by the use of blue and all the historical and mystical connotations which accompany it. She also weaves a beautiful connection between the visual sensations of fashion and womanhood and the sensory streams of consciousness so prevalent in her own music.
[Feminism] Eleonora Abbagnato, star of international ballet & regular collaborator with Dior, discusses feminism & childhood dreams of dance
28:24Welcome to ‘Feminism’, the new series of ‘Dior Talks’ podcasts, hosted by Justine Picardie. ‘Dior Talks’ creates fascinating spaces for expression, exploring the imaginations and discourses of the artists and thinkers who influence Maria Grazia Chiuri. ‘Feminism’ engages in dialogue with the women who have inspired the Creative Director of Women’s collections and taken part in bold, empowering collaborations with the House. An exceptional roster of guests shares the magic of their thinking and the key moments of their careers with biographer and journalist Justine Picardie. In this third episode, Picardie talks to Eleonora Abbagnato, one of the most important female ballet dancers of her generation. The native Sicilian has risen to the top of the fiercely competitive world of classical dance in both Paris and Rome. She has formed a close and fruitful friendship with Maria Grazia Chiuri, whom she asked, in 2019, to design costumes for ‘Nuit Blanche’, a new production paying tribute to composer Philip Glass, created by young French choreographer Sébastien Bertaud, in which she starred. Chiuri’s enduring love of dance and movement chimed with Abbagnato’s passions to form the first in a series of profound collaborations. Eleonora Abbagnato was born in Palermo, Sicily, in 1978. No one in her family had ever danced before, but at the age of four she started to dance on her own in front of the mirror at home. She left her childhood home at age ten to study dance in Monte Carlo, and at 13 was touring Europe with legendary choreographer Roland Petit and his production of ‘The Sleeping Beauty’. She studied at the elite École de Danse de l’Opéra de Paris and joined the legendary Paris Opera Ballet in 1996. She has since had a meteoric ascent and, in 2021, is looking forward to her farewell performances as an étoile, or principal, this summer. She has also been highly prolific in her native Italy, where she co-hosted the Sanremo Festival in 2007 and, since 2015, has been the Director of the Corps de Ballet at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma. Here, Justine Picardie and Abbagnato hit the discursive ground running, comparing impassioned notes on the history of classical dance, the changing role of female dancers and the challenges, both mental and physical, that ballet presents. Abbagnato opens up about the huge strain female dancers in particular are put under by (mostly male) choreographers but goes on to reflect on the important and vitalizing contribution women directors and choreographers are now making to the field. She considers the importance of motherhood, both the inspirations of her own mother and also her hopes and ambitions for her young daughters today. They unwrap the special connection she has formed with Maria Grazia Chiuri, and the understanding of the essence of form and movement that has enabled her and her fellow dancers to express such beauty and empowerment while performing in the designs of the house of Dior.
[Feminism] Robin Morgan, the poet, author & a key figure in the American women’s movement, talks time, progress and her extraordinary career
32:28Welcome to ‘Feminism’, the new series of ‘Dior Talks’ podcasts, hosted by Justine Picardie. ‘Dior Talks’ creates fascinating spaces for expression, exploring the imaginations and discourses of the artists and thinkers who influence Maria Grazia Chiuri. ‘Feminism’ engages in dialogue with the women who have inspired the Creative Director of Women’s collections and taken part in bold, empowering collaborations with the House. An exceptional roster of guests shares the magic of their thinking and the key moments of their careers with biographer and journalist Justine Picardie. In this second episode, Picardie talks to Robin Morgan, a hugely influential feminist theorist and much-published writer and journalist. Morgan has been a key figure in the women’s movement, both in the USA and internationally, since the early 1960s, and was also an early participant in the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements of the time. She is widely considered a crucial figure in the development of modern feminism and has been forming international networks of like-minded campaigners throughout her adult life. Robin Morgan was born in Florida in 1941, to a single woman who had come south to avoid the censure surrounding unmarried motherhood. She spent her early years as a child model and actor, appearing regularly in TV shows. However, her desire to write led her away from her mother’s ambitions for her acting career and towards a degree at Columbia University. She worked as a secretary for a literary agent after college and married poet Kenneth Pitchford in 1962, with whom she had a son, the musician Blake Morgan. At this time, Morgan became active in various leftwing movements, writing for radical publications such as ‘Liberation’ and ‘The National Guardian’. She joined the Civil Rights Movement and in 1967 co-founded the New York Radical Women group. In 1970, she published her first anthology of theoretical texts, ‘Sisterhood is Powerful’. Concurrently publishing volumes of poetry and works of fiction, she received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1979 and has, to date, published 21 books of feminist theory, poetry and fiction and, including several years as editor-in-chief of Ms., has written for multiple newspapers and magazines in the USA and internationally. In 1984, she founded the Sisterhood is Global Institute with Simone de Beauvoir, and in 2005 co-founded the Women’s Media Center. In this second episode of ‘Feminism’, Justine Picardie and Robin Morgan get right to the heart of the major concerns and challenges which have faced and continue to face feminist struggles internationally. Morgan reflects on the surprises and insights of having lived eight decades and recalls the injustices which women faced in their daily lives when she was young. They discuss the transition to post-feminism and the different approaches to women’s causes around the world. Morgan considers the ever-evolving relationship between feminism and the cultural left, and also the perennial hostility from the right. They also talk about Morgan and Maria Grazia Chiuri’s mutual admiration and budding friendship, and the unlikely but magical interaction of fashion and radical feminism which occurred when Chiuri chose to honor Morgan’s remarkable career at a special ceremony in February 2019 in Paris. Morgan has been a long-standing inspiration for the Creative Director of Women’s collections.
[Feminism] Sharon Eyal, the singular dancer and choreographer, talks to Justine Picardie about her passions, inspirations and career
29:39Welcome to ‘Feminism’, the new series of ‘Dior Talks’ podcasts, hosted by Justine Picardie. ‘Dior Talks’ creates fascinating spaces for expression, exploring the imaginations and discourses of the artists and thinkers who influence Maria Grazia Chiuri. ‘Feminism’ engages in dialogue with the women who have inspired the Creative Director of Women’s collections and taken part in bold, empowering collaborations with the House. An exceptional roster of guests shares the magic of their thinking and the key moments of their careers with biographer and journalist Justine Picardie. Here, Picardie talks to Sharon Eyal, the highly esteemed dancer and choreographer, who directs the L-E-V Company, the unconventional yet rigorous dance troupe she founded with performance curator Gai Behar. Trained in classical ballet, she swiftly developed her own uncompromised style early in her career. She has become known for an expansive range of reference, strongly defined aesthetics and complex choreography, has won numerous major awards for her work and performed with her company worldwide. Sharon Eyal was born in Jerusalem, a self-described ‘hyperactive child’ until her parents signed her up for ballet lessons at the age of 4. From 1990 to 2008 she danced with the Batsheva Dance Company, founded by Martha Graham in 1964, and served as associate artistic director for the Batsheva Dancers Create program from 2005-12. Since its founding in 2013, L-E-V has been the arena for her profound, beguiling vision of choreography, with electronic music, fashion, contemporary art and club culture regular references. The company has performed at major venues such as the Joyce Theater, New York, and Sadler’s Wells, London, and international festivals including Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Montpellier Danse and Julidans. In this first episode of ‘Feminism’, Justine Picardie, a longtime fan, asks Eyal about her unrelenting passion for dance and movement as they discuss the central themes of freedom, physicality and flight, both corporeal and emotional. Despite its grueling realities, dance has been a release for Eyal and, intriguingly, a centering source of calm. She talks about the connection she formed with Maria Grazia Chiuri collaborating on the Spring-Summer 2019 show at which Eyal’s dancers gave a remarkable performance, an experience repeated in ‘Disturbing Beauty’, the film that presented the Autumn-Winter 2021-2022 collection. Eyal finds huge inspiration in Maria Grazia Chiuri’s designs and recognizes the importance of female movement, female expression and, most crucially, female liberation in the women’s collections.
[Lady Art] Discover Song Dong’s Window Bag into the Soul for Dior Lady Art
21:54Welcome to the Dior Talks series themed around the 5th edition of Dior Lady Art and hosted by Paris-based journalist Katya Foreman. For this year’s event, ten artists and collectives from around the world have participated in a game of metamorphosis by rendering the iconic Lady Dior handbag as a unique piece of art. Today’s guest, the Chinese artist Song Dong, is known for works that reflect on memories that are intrinsic to everyday objects, and the emotions we project on them. One example is windows, the main theme of his Lady Dior bags, a reference to a monumental structure made from old, discarded windows collected in the streets of Beijing that also reveals “reclaimed value.” The large version of the Window Bag features a colorful grid of miniature windows that act as both a window into the soul and onto the world, with shiny mirrors creating a kaleidoscopic effect. The artist’s idea is that its owner may see herself and the world reflected in it, a means of self-discovery and of reinforcing the bag’s function as a portable piece of art. In addition to the world it holds within, the bag offers an interaction with the outside world, changing according to the light, shadows, places and faces. Listen to this episode to find out more about the fascinating universe of an artist for whom “art is life, and life is art.” Discover Song Dong’s creations :https://youtu.be/i-2FEcVwarc
[Lady Art] Olga Titus on Creating an “Emotional Community” Around the Lady Dior Bag
24:48Welcome to the Dior Talks series themed around the 5th edition of Dior Lady Art and hosted by Paris-based journalist Katya Foreman. For this year’s event, ten artists and collectives from around the world have participated in a game of metamorphosis by rendering the iconic Lady Dior handbag as a unique piece of art. Trans-culturalism, identity and spirituality are key sources of inspiration for our latest guest on the series, Olga Titus. For her reinterpretation of the iconic bag, the Swiss-Malaysian artist gathered elements that trigger emotion and explored the concept of cultural “in-betweenness.” This “third space” is one she knows well, and it serves as a conduit for cultural exchange inspired by the Indian theorist Homi K. Bhabha. “In my artistic work I encircle a cosmos, a galaxy in which self and external perception, biographical elements and cultural identity are reflected and represented in all their facets,” says the artist, whose creative process can be likened to building a cabinet of curiosities. One case in point: a floral rug in her atelier became the basis for one of her Lady Dior bags, and also references Monsieur Dior’s love of gardens. An assortment of mini masks creates an emotional “community” around the bag. Tune in to this episode to learn more about how Titus approached the Lady Dior, using her signature sequin works as a starting point, and how she incorporated harlequin effects and a kaleidoscope of glass beads to create craft-intensive masterpieces that showcase embroidery at its most extreme. Discover Olga Titus’ creations :https://youtu.be/A5-knt4E1vY