Under Maria Grazia Chiuri’s artistic direction, slogan tees have become a mainstay of Dior’s ready-to-wear collections. Her first season introduced the buzzy “We Should All Be Feminists” tee, followed by the “Why Are There No Great Woman Artists?” shirt for Spring 2018. At today’s haute couture show, Chiuri unveiled her first—and maybe the first-ever—couture slogan tattoos.
Rather than stick to tees, the designer sent out models with phrases inked along their collarbones like trompe l’oeil necklaces. In black lettering, each saying was pulled from the writings of André Breton, the founder of the Surrealist movement and author of the Surrealist Manifesto. “Au départ il ne s’agit pas de comprendre mais bien d’aimer”—“In the beginning it is not a matter of understanding, but of loving”—read one top worn under a checkerboard gown. Others said, “L’amour est toujours deviant vous. Aimes!”—“Love is always before you. Love!”—and “L’imaginaire est ce qui tend à devenir réel”—“The imaginary is what tends to become real.”
Breton’s words blended nicely with the overall theme of the collection, which was inspired by the work of fellow Surrealist Leonor Fini and drew on Surreal motifs and optic prints. Still, after seasons of celebrating the words of women writers, the choice of Breton is surprising. Femme-enfant is a common term applied to women in his work—part childlike guide to the world of dreams, part hyper-sexualized being. Fini is a better fit for this feminist-leaning brand.
In the end, of course, there’s no denying the beauty and warmth of Chiuri’s clothing. Expect to see these gowns and tailleurs on the red carpet very soon.