Diving deep into the past in order to revitalize brand codes and evolve the Maison’s DNA, Artistic/Creative Director Maria Grazia Chiuri dug deep into British subculture emerging with Teddy Girls for the Ready-to-Wear Autumn/Winter ’19 collection.

As a an opposition to Teddy Boys, the subculture of Teddy girls is a reflection of rebellion against the times and trading book rations in for Edwardian frills. This 1950s style dubbed “Teds” (name deriving from Edwardian) represented women with wild quiffs, sharply tailored suits, jackets with velvet scarves, ample skirts, jeans, and black leather jackets with a dash of feisty-ness.

Chiuri dug through the post-war past and associated her character to Princess Margaret who embodied the very essence of a rebel, having bypassed a British dressmaker to select a Dior dress for her 21st birthday. The decision struck a cord with Christian Dior who drew from the act as a source of inspiration which manifested in  illustrations which are currently on exhibit at the Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. 

Drawing from the immense Dior glossary, Chiuri lightened fabrics and brought back styles in lightweight fabrics for a 2020 woman, revisiting the Bar suit with elongated masculine lines, cut precisely with velvet collars. Gathered skirts and dresses with signature Christian Dior nipped waists revisited the 1950s with a a sportswear touch.

Referencing a series of past themes, the Artistic Director paid homage to underground ’50s and ’60s subculture “blouson noirs” and Yves Saint Laurent’s black leather jacket for Dior. Through fabric modernization and refreshed techniques, the Miss Dior dress is also redone exposing the exact mix of strength and grace that Chiuri favours. 

Emphasizing the fact that the simple act of dressing oneself becomes a political motion, silkscreened t-shirts sent out a clear message on the runway as a tribute to American feminist poet Robin Morgan with the statements: Sisterhood is Powerful (1970), Sisterhood is Global (1984), and Sisterhood is Forever (2003). 

As the message was loud and clear, the scenography created by Italian artist Thomas Binga (aka Bianca Pucciarelli Menna, a woman with a masculine pseudonym in demonstration against a misogynistic culture in the arts) was based on ABCs: a letter representing a diverse woman ultimately transcending ideas of anatomy and gender. Chiruri sifted through past references yet remained true to her feminist core since her arrival at the house in 2016. 

The show was dedicated to Karl Lagerfeld, “the alchemist of elegance and beauty,” to whom she worked for at Fendi at the beginning of her career.