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New Dior designer divines tarot success – WENDY STOKES reveals its inclusion in new collection honouring French company’s founder

LURED recently from Valentino, visionary feminist and spiritualist Maria Grazia Chiuri is the first female artistic director at the House of Dior, now a $13 billion empire, in its 70-year history.
   The Priestess of Wands

She is the fashion house’s new creative director, responsible for Dior’s couture collections, ready-to-wear, resort and pre-collections, as well as most accessories, and her first runway spring and summer collection celebrated Dior’s seven-decade anniversary.

The late Christian Dior, founder of the French fashion company, was highly superstitious and believed in all kinds of talismans. He also visited clairvoyants and had his tarot cards read before every fashion show.

Chiuri has acknowledged this in a very creative way, beginning with her stunning Paris debut showcasing the Dior 2017 ready-to-wear collection. It was here that her “tarot dresses” made their first appearance.

The inspirational images connect us to our most ancient origins, the magic of nature, the animal kingdom, and to early goddess cultures.

They include licensed images from the Motherpeace Tarot Deck of circular cards by Karen Vogel and Vicki Noble to honour Christian Dior’s beliefs. The glamorous clothing designs feature images from these cards, adapted to the design of various dresses, jackets, pants, scarves, T-shirts and accessories, which include beads, raffia, pleats and sequins.

Chiuri says “we should all be feminists” and this is an urgent call for women’s centrality.

The tarot motifs had made their first appearance in spectacular surroundings in the Musée Rodin in Paris. The models paraded beneath a “wishing tree”, unlike any other, with a wealth of ribbons, jewelled drops, tarot cards, accessories and all kinds of talismans, hanging from its branches.

After the show, the museum was quickly transformed into a ballroom so that the guests could enjoy a masked ball – yet another element of mystery – with a unicorn, carnival machine predicting the future, and characters from a giant tarot set among the many novelties.

Tarrot cards background

The iconic tarot images were introduced to North America’s fashion world in May this year for Maria Grazia Chiuri’s “Cruise 2018” collection, staged at the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon nature reserve. Fittingly, they complemented elements from Native American culture in a perfect setting to capture “this wild and ancient femininity linked to the magic of the earth” which Dior says guided Chiuri’s first collection for the House.

    The Sun
The High Priestess

The May show featured 50 models and was showcased to a background of rock music in the Los Angeles hills, to the acclaim of 800 esteemed guests.

Christian Dior’s fascination with aspects of the paranormal continues among some of his talented employees, and DiorMag, the fashion house’s online publication (www.dior.com/diormag/) has been keen to share their interests. It reports that at its Vermont centre in Paris, the horoscope of every Dior atelier – whose delicate craftsmanship translates the designs from drawings into physical reality – “gets read out each morning”.

Also following in the founder’s footsteps is Giuseppe. He works in the ateliers department, describes himself as “a bit of a mystery boy” and shares Christian Dior’s love of lucky charms. Dior, says the online magazine, “kept a tangle of charms in his pocket that included a star, a heart and a number of other luck-bringing items”. In a video interview, Giuseppe showed his own collection, including a star, a blue heart and other amulets.

In another video, Chiuri, born under the sign of Aquarius, displayed a mixture of impressive rings on her fingers and spoke of life being “a labyrinth”. And Sidney Toledano, president and CEO of Christian Dior Couture, revealed his birthsign is Leo rising and his lucky number seven.

Motherpeace Tarot, which has given the Dior creations a mystic integrity, was self-published in 1980 and has sold more than 100,000 decks. It was the first round card deck, so images can be read with more than upright and reversed meanings. The cards celebrate the goddess and use ancient symbols of earth-based spirituality from matriarchal, peaceful ancient cultures.

The two deck creators, Vicky Noble and Karen Vogel, were students at Berkeley in California and, as roommates, were interested in goddess spirituality and the psychic arts. They created the deck with assistance from others in their circle of friends. Both have gone on to have highly successful careers.

I assume, given their intense interest in divination, that their success has not come as a surprise.

Two books by Vicki Noble are related to this deck: Motherpeace – A Way to the Goddess Through Myth, Art and Tarot, and Rituals and Practices with the Motherpeace Tarot.

Tarrot cards background

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