The brand has a long history with Mexico: Founder Christian Dior sold a "Mexico" dress in the 1950s, and even presented one of his lines there in 1954. More recently, creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri drew inspiration from female Mexican rodeo riders for Cruise 2019.
In her latest pre-season collection, Chiuri name-checks Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo and Tina Modotti — all of whom spent time in (and were influenced by) Mexico — in the show notes. Her central muse, though, is Frida Kahlo, incorporating both recognizable motifs from her paintings (such as butterflies, parrots, monkeys and birds of paradise) as well as callbacks to her personal wardrobe (through androgynous suiting and huipils styled with full skirts) into the line. (She also staged the show at the Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso, where Kahlo famously met Diego Rivera.)
In a press release, the house wrote that the cruise collection is "conceived as an actual research project, allowing an in-depth study of the social and historical implications of craft cultures," and that it "creates a space to explore and showcase a series of works undertaken by various Indigenous communities."
According to WWD, Chiuri first reached out to Circe Henestrosa, the curator of the "Frida Kahlo, Beyond Appearances" exhibition, for guidance on how to approach this season's collaborations. That eventually led the designer to work with Yolcentle Textil's Hilan Cruz Cruiz on a series of embroidered shirts and dresses highlighting the flora and fauna of Puebla; Sna Jolobil's Pedro Meza on a gaban and embroidered sash belts by Tzotzil communities in Zinacantan and San Juan Chamula; Remigio Mestas on huipils using Oaxacan weaving, dyeing and embroidery traditions from the Zapotecs of San Blas Atempa, the Chinantecs of Papaluapan Basin and the Mazatecs of la Chuparrosa; Rocinante's Narcy Areli Morales on geometric "pepenado fruncido" embroidery created by all-female Mixtec groups in San Lucas Redención, San Pablo Tijaltepec and Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca; Plata Villa, a workshop led by Rafael Villa Rojas, on the butterfly jewelry; and Alema Atelier on the Jarocho hats, inspired by ones you'd see in Veracruz.
"Fashion has the potential to be a bridge, and textile art, such as embroidery, can be a vehicle to connect different communities, enabling them to work together, understand each other more, and share ideas and expertise," Chiuri told Business of Fashion. "Of course, you have to give the original sources a contemporary attitude attractive to any cool young girl anywhere — this is fashion after all.... This idea of protecting local heritage by forbidding a dialogue with outside partners carries a risk — that it won't survive. Some of the pieces in the collection would take an artisan working alone months to realize, at a high cost. Dior's capabilities can give their skills a better chance to endure."
Now, the fashion crowd is used to back-to-back international travel. However, it's usually limited to the biannual, four-week circuit of New York, London, Milan and Paris — and in 2023, the more opaque pre-seasons have taken a select few farther across the globe: In addition to Dior in Mumbai, there was Louis Vuitton in Seoul for pre-fall, Chanel in Los Angeles for Cruise 2024, back to South Korea for Gucci Cruise, then Dior (again) in Mexico City. (Next up are Dua Lipa x Versace in Cannes, Carolina Herrera Resort 2024 in Rio de Janeiro, Louis Vuitton Cruise 2024 in Isola Bella.)
Before we jet off to the next one, see the full Dior Cruise 2024 collection below.