Kallos is an all-important word in ancient Greek language and philosophy. Meaning “ beauty not only on the surface” it epitomizes the concept of form –meets- spirituality that Greeks were so known to evangelize. It was also one of the main influences Maria Grazia Churi mentioned in her concept notes preceding the house’s Cruise 2022 collection-a collection inspired by and presented in Athens, Greece
Dior’s relationship with Greece is indeed a long withstanding one In 1951, the photographer Jean-Pierre Pedrazzini captured models in Christian Dior’s ballgowns posing in front of the Caryatids of the Acropolis antagonizing their graceful poses. This relationship between a prestigious Parisian fashion house such as Dior and the aesthetics of a local culture gone global is no stranger to Chiuri’s work. She is in fact known for breaking down the semantics of other cultures and turning them into Gen Z-approved imagery.
Presented in the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, Dior’s 2022 Cruise collection was conceived as an overall tribute to Hellenic history, showcasing Ancient Greek forms and silhouettes mixed with mainstream contemporary design. “An alliance of heritage and modernity that – within the iconic Panathenaic Stadium, the setting for the show – reveals a manifesto for a body that more than ever enjoys the liberty of movement, performing without constraint,” the house said of the collection. The Stadium, known as the birthplace and setting of the modern Olympics in 1896 bears a strong symbolic element with its connections to beauty that comes from freedom,freedom of body as well as freedom of mind. An all Greek concept which Chiuri sartorially interpreted as sportswear meets peplum.
The peplum is indeed a garment that has a long history -and some very interesting connotations. The goddess gown, or peplum, is an ethereal robe traditionally worn by women in ancient Greece. The garment embodies what Greeks defined as kallos of the form: a kind of understated beauty created by unseen effort. For Chiuri, the modern equivalent for the above is, wait for it, sportswear. And a few Hellenic dresses that closed the show-all worn with sneakers.
Dior collaborated with local artisans to create elaborately woven pieces and striking embroidery. The tailor Aristeidis Tzonevrakis created a Book Tote and a Bar Jacket with his unique method of structuring and embellishing.The Soufli-based factory Silk Line recreated Dior’s houndstooth in silk leggings and shorts using its unique jacquard loom. And Atelier Tsalavoutas recreated the caps worn by Hydra fishermen since the 19th century. NE.M.A., an atelier that works with traditional techniques created some amazing passementerie.
The idea of mixing local couture-like craftsmanship techniques with the properties of modern sportswear is an intriguing one. Still, every great concept requires a brilliant execution. Chiuri delivered clean-cut, minimal active wear interrupted by deconstructed Bar jackets and sweats with prints loosely related to modern Greek art. Her work was less a lesson in reconstructing Grecian forms and more an attempt to athleticize everything through stereotypes and kitsch imagery.
Greek culture requires travelers, not tourists. In that sense,the show was a brilliantly executed lost opportunity.