Maria Grazia Chiuri on the women who inspire her

Marie-Claire Chappet
·4-min read
Photo credit: Courtesy
Photo credit: Courtesy

From Harper's BAZAAR

In celebration of International Women's Day, we hosted our inaugural 'Evening with Harper’s Bazaar’ - in association with YPO, Veuve Clicquot and Clé de Peau Beauté - with special guests including model and activist Iman and the head of UN’s HeForShe movement, Elizabeth Nyamayaro.

As part of the proceedings, Dior's creative director, the indomitable Maria Grazia Chiuri, sat down with Bazaar's acting deputy editor Helena Lee to talk about fashion, feminism and the female gaze. Through the conversation, Chiuri divulged the women who have inspired her throughout her life and her career...

Her mother...

"I grew up in a really liberal family. My mother worked and my father supported her all the time with domestic work. I never saw it as a problem to be a woman – they never said to me; 'Maria you have to get married, you have to find a husband.' They told me, 'You can do what you want in your life.'"

Her colleagues at Fendi...

"I started my career at Fendi and it was super inspiring. I worked with five women who were really strong and they were also married with kids, independent and creative, too. In some ways I lived in a bubble!"

Photo credit: Courtesy
Photo credit: Courtesy

Frida Kahlo...

"I remember that exhibition of Frida Kahlo in Rome because it was the first time in my life I had seen an important exhibition with a woman artist. Until Frida, there just wasn't a reference for a young girl like me who wanted to become an artist. It was not easy to find that inspiration, someone who could give you the hope that you could have a future in this world."

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie...

"Chimamanda speaks brilliantly about blending femininity and feminism; how feminism doesn’t mean you don’t wear lipstick or high heels. It is about you, your choice. There is not only one way to express our femininity. From my point of view, that t-shirt was like a poster. Nothing is more efficient than a white t-shirt to send a message in fashion."

Photo credit: Victor Boyko
Photo credit: Victor Boyko

The female photographers within the book 'Her Dior'...

"I am so proud of this book, because finally there is a book with so many women photographers. It makes all the difference; they see the other women as a subject, not as an object. It helps to create a new image of women. It’s very important to have that female gaze."

Photo credit: Courtesy
Photo credit: Courtesy

Her daughter, Rachele Regini...

"When I was young, I was probably as radical as my daughter, but with time you understand that it is necessary to believe in what you really think is important but at the same time, to try to do something step by step. It is not possible to change everything in one moment. We have to try to work together to build a different world for the future."

Photo credit: Dave Benett
Photo credit: Dave Benett

The female artists who have collaborated with Dior...

"So many wonderful artists; Marinella Senatore, Judy Chicago, Penny Slinger, Mickalene Thomas...It was my dream to work with all these artists, especially because they come from so many different backgrounds and countries and are different ages. I have become friends with them and maintained a relationship with them after the shows."

Photo credit: ALESSANDRO GAROFALO
Photo credit: ALESSANDRO GAROFALO

The female illustrators for the AW21 Dior show...

"I was so excited to collaborate with Theresa Cherubini, Aisha Madu, Noriko Okaku, Bárbara Cerro and Marion Fayolle for this season. These are great new young, talented women and they represent themselves in such an incredible way."

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

Herself...

"When I first came to Dior I was excited to use only my voice in some way, to give my point of view about a system that I knew very well, and, of course, a feminist point of view. When Dior called me, I said immediately that my idea was to create a femininity with a point of view that must be feminist."

If you missed our 'Evening with Harper's Bazaar' event, in celebration of International Women's Day, you can still watch the interview with Maria Grazia Chiuri in full, on demand.

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