The Dior catwalk features a 24-meter-long “tentacle” by Joana Vasconcelos

Dior fashion house’s final runway show at Paris Fashion Week saw a large-scale kaleidoscopic installation by artist Joana Vasconcelos hang over the Fall Winter 2023 catwalk, which was decorated with fabrics from the collection.

The performance took place on February 28 in a purpose-built structure in the Jardin des Tuileries, Paris.

An opening in the east elevation marked the “Dior” decorated white box and marked the entrance to the exhibition space.

Dior’s Fall Winter 2023 womenswear show was held during Paris Fashion Week

In this opening, and at the top of a flight of stairs, was a colorful five-pointed sculpture by Vaskontselos that provided show-goers with a glimpse of what was to be revealed from within.

At 24 meters long and seven meters high, the installation was titled Valkyrie Miss Dior and was made entirely by hand.

It spread throughout the interior of the special structure and formed a series of undulating volumes that extended over the runway and fell to the floor at various points throughout the exhibition space.

Interior view of the Joana Vasconcelos Dior installation
The brand collaborated with Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos

The floating amorphous structure, and the corresponding droplets frozen in time, was constructed entirely of textiles and was draped, wrapped and decorated with knitted, sewn and crocheted fabrics and objects – a medium synonymous with and repeatedly explored in Vasconcelos’ work.

“Her monumental work dreamed up for this Dior event takes over the space in an almost tentacle-like way,” said Dior.

“Its free form, organic, from which it feels impossible to escape, consists of compositions of fabric, lace, embroidery and crochet, 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 space with one of her monumental installations – titled Valkyrie Miss Dior – a proliferation of organic forms interacting with the architecture” , Dior continued.

“The techniques this artist usually explores – sewing, knitting, crocheting – are usually associated with the feminine realm of craft, in contrast to the gigantic and visual nature of her work designed specifically for Dior.”

Photograph of the textile installation at the Autumn Winter 2023 exhibition
The installation weighed a ton

The fabrics and textiles used throughout the installation came directly from the collection of Dior womenswear creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri, which was presented under the one-tone structure.

“Incorporating 20 different fabrics from the collection, it dialogues with the models and the audience as well, in a choreographed way,” said Vasconcelos. “It celebrates the dialogue between human bodies, inhabited garments and present space. Between haute couture and visual arts”.

Installation photo by Joana Vasconcelos
Incorporate fabrics from the collection

The collection paid tribute to Christian Dior’s sister, Catherine Dior, who was a member of the French Resistance and devoted much of her life to the flower trade.

From this, Vasconcelos created a dominant installation that incorporated typically feminine craft methods that aimed to complement the story of Catherine Dior.

Vasconcelos is a Portuguese artist whose work is said to be an updated concept of art and craft applied to the 21st century. Her work uses everyday objects that aim to add irony and humor to her works, while discussing broader issues such as the position 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 grottoes and caves out of 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 February 27th to March 7th.

Photo by Adrien Dirand, courtesy of Dior. See the Dezeen Events Guide for information on the many other exhibitions, installations and talks taking place throughout the month.

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