Back in June, Dior CEO Pietro Beccari held a joint live-streamed press conference with artistic director Maria Grazia Chiuri to announce that the brand was moving forward with plans to present a live runway in Lecce, Italy for its Cruise 2021 collection, having postponed its original May 9 debut.
"[For] Maria Grazia and I, luxury is emotions. When it comes to fashion, nothing carries the emotion of a real fashion show," he explained. "We would like with this to send a message of hope, of optimism, and for some people, rebirth after this period of difficulty."
The catch? There would be a much, much smaller audience.
After briefly pivoting to a digital-only format for the Fall 2020 Haute Couture collection, Dior was eager to return to a live format, even if it meant playing to a proverbial empty house. So, the Cruise 2021 show — complete with a live orchestra and dancer — was broadcast to a remote audience across the globe, with only a select few (including Chiara Ferragni and husband Fedez) actually taking in the show live in Lecce.
During the press conference, Beccari and Chiuri both underlined Dior's commitment to the artisans of the Puglia region, where the brand had already contracted work for everything ranging from the lights that made up the set design to the embroidery on the dresses. And their influence showed in the twists added to Chiuri's usual signatures during the Cruise 2021 presentation — think leather corsets over flowing dresses, or woven detailing on handbags. Dreamy knit fringe and washed-out stripes brought to mind linen left out in the sun to dry, and a suite of bright prints broke up the shades of creams, tans and browns that made up much of the collection.
As far as livestreams go, it was certainly a stunning display. Still, Dior hopes to be able to welcome friends of the brand in at least some capacity to its next show, the Spring 2021 ready-to-wear show currently scheduled to happen during Paris Fashion Week this September. "We hope to have some audience in September, if not a full room," Beccari said last month.
"I think it's also important to remember that fashion week is not only important for fashion family, it's also important for the city where the fashion shows are," Chiuri added. "This is also our idea: Don't forget that we are important for others."
See the complete Dior Cruise 2021 collection in the gallery below: