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Attiudes Spectrales: The Surrealist Meaning Behind Dior’s Body Tattoos At Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week


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Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week started strong with one of the most anticipated runway shows of the season. Dior, as spearheaded by Artistic Director Maria Grazia Chiuri, immediately beguiled attendants with a mysterious, mirror checker-board set at the Musée Rodin. Inside the venue, in black and white monotones, floating body parts and a large cage hung in the air, suspended above guests as they filed into the room.



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For this Spring/Summer 2018 couture season, Dior’s intricately themed collection is going for a “Surrealistic” exploration, praising the duplicity of the masculine and feminine, of darkness and light, and reality with perception. In this Dali-esque set, models strut the runway, sporting black and white couture in feathers, mesh, and satin. But closer inspection on their fingers and décolletage reveal subtle inscriptions.



Written in French, Dior’s body tattoos are actually quotes from the renowned poet André Breton, believed to be the founder of the Surrealist movement. On some models, the words ‘L’Maginaire c’est ce qui tend à devenir reel’  trails over their collar bones. The phrase translates to, “The Magician is what tends to become real.”

On other models, the quote “Au départ il ne s’agit pas de comprendre mais bien d’aimer” which  translates to, “Initially, it’s not about understanding, but about loving”; while on another set, the words ‘Attitude Spectrales’, meaning ‘Spectral Attitudes,’ is reference to André Breton’s famous poem.



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Meanwhile on models’ fingers, the inscriptions ‘contradictoire bal masqué’ and ‘contradiction l’art miroir’ translates to the ‘contradictory masked ball’ and ‘contradiction the mirror art.’

All this plays up with Maria Grazia Chiuri’s emphasis on the surreal, and the power of the imagination of the artist. Likewise, the couturier’s true atelier is in “his or her spirit”, which is the “somewhere between dream and reality, or imagination and realization.”

But of all surrealist masterminds emulated in this show, it is Leonor Fini that “defines this collection’s strict and radical attitude,” as stated by Dior. Leonor, who held her first exhibit at Christian Dior’s gallery, became a close friend and inspiration to the legendary couturier. “Only the inevitable theatricality of my life interests me,” she once said, as she navigated through the perils of public and private life, playing between dreams and reality—especially when she’s wearing Dior’s designs, as legend would tell.



Lead photos via @dannguyenlure