As feminism and female empowerment remain central to Chiuri’s work at the house, she turned to Mexican artists like Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo, Tina Modot, and Frida Kahlo for inspiration for her Cruise 2024 collection. The latter Chiuri envisioned as the core of the collection, reflecting Kahlo’s inimitable influence and embodying of Mexican culture, especially indigenous culture. Held at the Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso—where Kahlo studied and met her husband and mentor Diego Rivera—a sprinkle of rain illuminated by the museum courtyard’s dim lighting only added to the collection’s dramatic romanticism.
This season, Chiuri illustrated how clothing became a creative expression of Kahlo’s artistic and feminist identity. At 18, Kahlo suffered a severe bus accident which left her with over 18 fractured bones, particularly her in her spine. In response to the collision, her clothing choices doubled as a means of concealing her physical disability and expressing her creativity. On Chiuri’s runway, there were references to Kahlo’s traditional Tehuantepec clothing: full skirts with lots of layers, embroidered blouses, huipil tunics, and vibrant patterns. To accurately bring Kahlo’s indigenous wardrobe to life, Chiuri tapped local artisans from Oaxaca, Chiapas and Puebla to collaborate on traditional savoir faire techniques.
Like Kahlo did in her own wardrobe, Chiuri blended traditionalism with modernism. A black leather corset in the shape of a butterfly poetically mimics the casts Kahlo wore while recovering from her injuries. Butterflies were a recurring theme in the collection, seen on rings and Mexican torzal-style necklaces, symbolic of the artist’s love of flora and fauna. Butterflies were an important symbol for Kahlo. During her recovery, she had a glass-cased diorama of butterflies mounted on her bed at her home, La Casa Azul. Elsewhere, a series of menswear-inspired looks nodded to Kahlo’s love of androgynous fashion. She often blurred the line of gendered style, gravitating between men’s three-piece suits and ultra-feminine Tehuantepec clothing.
One look brought to life Kahlo’s signature pink dress depicted in her 1932 painting, Self Portrait on the Border between Mexico and the United States of America. Though Kahlo painted the dress in a soft, pale pink shade, Chiuri emphasized the strength of the tone by reimagining the off-the-shoulder dress in a bright magenta shade.
Indeed, Kahlo used her own wardrobe and body as a canvas to express who she was to the world. Her clothing reflected her refusal to conform, inspiring sartorial power to those who continue to admire her almost seven decades after her passing. “The gringas really like me a lot and pay close attention to all the dresses and rebozos that I brought with me,” Kahlo wrote in a letter to her mother while living in San Francisco in 1930. “Their jaws drop at the sight of my jade necklaces.”
Click through the gallery below for every look from Dior Cruise 2024.