Updated: Oct 1, 2019
For this virtuous project, Dior’s fashion designer Maria Grazia Chiuri collaborated with Coloco—a group of landscape architects—and planted 164 trees to design the stage.
From Kate Spade’s garden theme to Dior’s real forest, the fashion shows have never been more green than for Spring/Summer 2020. It seems that concerns about the environmental future is making its way into high fashion, despite the controversy regarding the fashion industry.
Dior indeed recently opened Paris Fashion Week with a nature-themed show to encourage the coexistence of humans and nature. Flaunting colours and ensembles that evoked botany, models did not stroll down a catwalk but instead walked through a forest of real trees. For this virtuous project, Dior’s fashion designer Maria Grazia Chiuri collaborated with Coloco—a group of landscape architects—and planted 164 trees to design the stage. Watching the women blend into the forest decor with their Dior SS20 ensembles conveyed an interesting message about the way in which enjoying fashion and caring for the planet do not have to be mutually exclusive.
The celebration of nature is found not only in the tree plantation but, of course, in the clothes as well. Submerged in earth tones, the show explored rural couture with a wide range of straw hats and floral prints. Despite its popularity, floral still holds meaning: it is a symbol of beauty. In the context of the eco-friendly Dior show, flowers represent the beauty of both fashion and nature.
There is also a plainness to the show that seems to evoke a sense of ‘going back the roots.’ Florals are the heritage of Dior, just like nature and plants are at the heart of our survival on Earth, something which we seem to have forgotten over the course of polluting our planet. Dior embraces the beauty of nature with florals and earthy colours, but also highlights the importance of its preservation.
In the context of the eco-friendly Dior show, flowers represent the beauty of both fashion and nature.
Chiuri’s use of her platform to make a powerful statement is even more relevant in light of the environmental degradation that the fashion industry is responsible for. Due to being some of the primary polluters in the world, luxury brands remain under fire for their lack of sustainability. There is perhaps then some hypocrisy behind Dior’s show being eco-friendly in its stage design but not in its clothing. Regardless, Chiuri shows us that she is aware of climate urgency—she even admitted that it is making her question her role in a polluting industry. She communicates her eagerness for change by paying tribute to Greta Thunberg with long braids worn by the models in the likes of the climate change activist.
Chiuri shows us that she is aware of climate urgency—she even admitted that it is making her question her role in a polluting industry.
Dior is not the only luxury brand drawing its attention towards nature and the environment; Milan Fashion Week saw Dolce & Gabbana’s jungle inspired runway show—which consisted of khakis, and animal and tropical plant prints, and a wild set made up of a leopard print carpet and palm tree decorations. Just a few weeks ago, Kate Spade also celebrated the green with a real garden at New York Fashion Week, through which models walked holding majestic pots of plants and flowers.
It seems that these brands recognise the power of fashion in making the audience appreciate certain colours and design. Hopefully fashion projects like Dior’s tree plantation succeed in making citizens appreciate and thus respect nature more. Because if fashion is one of the most harmful industries for the ecosystem and yet is now promoting respect for the environment, then that only emphasises the urgency of climate change.
Kate Spade and her potted plants at NYFW and D&G's tropical jungle.
Words by Carla Pelosoff
Graphics by Fiona Campbell