At Christian Dior’s fall 2019 runway show at Paris Fashion Week, Maria Grazia Chiuri, the first female artistic director of the fashion house, put her feminist influences on full display for this season’s collection. Chiuri has been known to do this in the past, with her spring 2018 show featuring shirts with art historian Linda Nochlin’s quote: “Why have there been no great female artists?” This season’s show, however, began with a poem read by Tomaso Binga, an Italian feminist activist and artist who works under a masculine pseudonym to draw attention to the privileges accorded to men in society. Behind Binga was her 1976 work, “Living Writing,” a massive depiction of the alphabet formed by female bodies.
As the show commenced after the reading, models walked out in T-shirts celebrating the three anthologies by American feminist journalist and poet Robin Morgan: Sisterhood Is Powerful, Sisterhood Is Global, and Sisterhood Is Forever. Among Chiuri’s other inspirations for the season’s looks were the British “Teddy Girls” of the 1950s and the independent, rebellious Princess Margaret, who chose to wear Dior over a British designer for her 21st birthday portrait.
Turn on the subtitles and watch the video below to hear about Binga’s work and how it was incorporated into Chiuri’s feminist vision for the show.