Who would have ever thought
it possible that the co-creators of Motherpeace—me and Karen Vogel—would end up being feted at the LA Dior fashion show in May 2017, or that our images would be used in their latest women’s
clothing line? If it seems a strange mix, that’s because you may only be viewing it from a mainstream cultural point of view and not taking into account the power of women’s magic and the
underground stream of feminist uprising that is always present in a backlash moment like the one we’re living through right now. When the forces of power-over and totalitarianism loom large, the
underground currents of liberation erupt like geysers, and in this moment of blatant and unrestrained patriarchy, women’s liberation is certainly one of those likely
The new Artistic Director of the Dior fashion house—the first woman ever to hold the position—is Maria Grazia Chiuri, an avowed feminist and spiritualist, vitally interested in tarot and the urgent need for women’s centrality. I was contacted on the eve of my 70th birthday by a representative of Ms. Chiuri, who transmitted Maria Grazia’s appreciation for my work (she has read my books in Italian), as well as her love of the Motherpeace images; this appreciation came with a formal request for Dior to license the images to incorporate into their new line of dresses, pants, jackets, scarves, t-shirts, bags, and other accessories. In May 2017, I was lucky enough to go to LA with my daughter Brooke (my stylist!), Motherpeace co-creator Karen Vogel, and Karen’s partner, Lisa Baiter, where we stayed in a hotel and were driven to various events, interviews, and soirees, including the fashion show itself. We got to meet Maria Grazia, who is a warm, committed and visionary feminist, as well as a down-to-earth, intelligent and talented woman CEO.
When I first Googled Ms. Chiuri, I learned that her first campaign in her new position was the “We should all be feminists” campaign, which was inspired by a book by that name written by the Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I had read this little book earlier in the year, having randomly ordered it from Amazon. But the more magical part of the story is that I had also used, in several of my Tibetan Dakini collages, images of the t-shirts created by Dior with those words on them; I even recalled that I had put one of those collages up as my Facebook photo for a while. Curious as to the timing, I went back and discovered that I had made this particular collage on January 1st as my Oracle for this entire year! We got to meet Ms. Adichie at the Dior show, bringing the whole thing full circle up to that point.
Photos from the Dior LA Fashion Show Events in May 2017
In late June, Karen and I were invited as guests of Dior to their Paris haute couture fashion show on July 3rd as part of fashion week (Remember the movies, Pret A Port or The Devil Wears Prada?). Karen and Lisa were unable to attend the event, but I took my daughter Brooke and we enjoyed not only the Dior fashion show, but also attended the retrospective 70th Anniversary Exhibition of Christian Dior (which remains up at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs until January 2018). The Dior show was, needless to say, fascinating; and the exhibit was beautiful and historically very interesting—well worth seeing if you’re in Paris. To our surprise, several women at the fashion show and exhibition were wearing dresses, pants, or T-shirts from the Motherpeace collection (even though the ready-to-wear line doesn’t officially get released into stores until November 2017).
Here is a Dior artisan creating a hand-sewn leather bag with the Wheel of Fortune image on it. This divinatory game is one of the main inspirations of Maria Grazia Chiuri for her cruise collection 2018, presented last May in the middle of a Californian nature reserve. This card was chosen for its powerful symbolism: represented by the twelve signs of the zodiac, this wheel recalls the passage of time, destiny. Fate that a woman should follow by relying on her instinctive senses, according to Karen Vogel and Vicki Noble.
Identical to the original, this illustration is reproduced painted by an artist based in Verona, Italy. The painter realizes this design on leather chosen in the Maison's leatherworking workshops.
The selection is rigorous and always follows the same ritual: touching, examining, scrutinizing and looking for every imperfection with a sign drawn with the finger. The skin must be perfect. For this model of Lady Dior , calf leather offers the highest gloss and improved accuracy for the painter.
Alternating pads and brushes with different tips, the artist realizes, with care and patience, the signs of the zodiac reinterpreted in female versions and uses no less than twenty shades, from blue to ocher through purple and green. Made entirely by hand, this design is unique in its variations in colors and its reflections, and requires in itself more than six hours of work. When ready, the bag can be mounted around a wooden shape made with the exact proportions developed by the pattern maker following the dimensions of the Lady Dior and the specifics of this semi-soft leather. Thus, the craftsman shapes and processes the leather, like a tailor sculpting a fabric by pleating it and draping it onto a mannequin.
Then, the craftsman assembles the two cork handles gluing the leather, collects them, and skillfully taps them together with a round-headed hammer. To complete and adorn the bag, the metal details: eyelets, feet and charms that make up the name Dior are revisited in a contemporary version. Every detail, however meticulous, contributes to the beauty of the whole. Last touch, the wide shoulder strap to carry this Lady Dior as you wish.
(Text taken from Dior Mag December 2017; the handwork helps to explain the Bergdorf Goodman price of $5500)