PFW SS20: Dior secret forest wows Paris

When it comes to elaborate catwalk sets, Paris Fashion Week always wins out, and for spring/summer 2020, Dior created its own secret indoor forest using 164 trees that it plans to replant in three different locations in the Paris region.

The Dior show has always been Maria Grazia Chiuri’s platform for activism, previously it has been about championing women, for SS20 the fashion house has turned its attention to nature and the current climate crisis, by showing the need for bio-diversity in order to survive.

PFW SS20: Dior secret forest wows Paris

Dior teamed up with Coloco, a collective of botanists and urban landscapers, to create the Paris Fashion Week “inclusive garden”, which the models walked between to showcase the new collection. They sourced the trees from nurseries from France, Germany and Italy, and each features a special QR code that shows its origin and future life as part of the Planting for the Future initiative, meaning that people will be able to follow the trees on their journey.

"Aside from their decorative beauty, plants are vital mediators in the relationship between Earth, the sun and humankind,” explained Dior.

PFW SS20: Dior secret forest wows Paris

The replanting of the trees isn’t the only thing beefing up Dior's sustainability credentials, all other elements of the presentation, which was designed with a zero-waste policy and plastic-free will also be recycled. 2,200 square meters of wooden planks for the façade and bleachers, 4,000 meters of brackets, and 4,500 square meters of fabric to be entirely reused by association La Réserve des Arts. In addition, all electricity was produced using generators powered by canola oil, added the French fashion house.

Dior opens Paris Fashion Week in an elaborate garden of trees

PFW SS20: Dior secret forest wows Paris

The spring/summer 2020 collection itself took inspiration from archival photographs of Christian Dior’s sister, Catherine, surrounded by flowers in her garden, which was her passion. Catherine’s love of gardening, she tended to the Dior family gardens, as well as nature itself, is evoked through the floral motifs that feature heavily throughout within the prints and embroidered.

“Through shine and the texture of raffia – a vision of luxuriant vegetation, presented in the manner of herbaria, living catalogues and the memory of botanical species,” added Dior in the show notes.

PFW SS20: Dior secret forest wows Paris

Creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, states: “These creations have little to do with nostalgia or the revival of a decorative tradition. Rather, they raise questions, like at the start of a long journey, about what caring for plants and flowers means today.

“Though we are living in the Anthropocene era – in which man dominates the planet – is it still possible to re-establish balance in our relationship with nature?”

PFW SS20: Dior secret forest wows Paris

Chiuri answers that with her whimsical spring collection, with beautiful bohemian floral chiffon dresses, intricate beadwork in the shape of dandelions and thistles, her ethereal signature tulle and sheer gowns and straw-like skirts that resembled camouflage netting with delicate floral embroideries.

In-keeping with the show's botanical themes and the female gardener inspiration, models sported straw cloche hats, gardening-boot style footwear, as well as oversized knitwear, and hints of tie-dye were seen across flowing slip dresses, trousers, and skirts, as well as garden-style overalls.

PFW SS20: Dior secret forest wows Paris

Images: courtesy of Dior / set photograph by Adrien Dirand