Five women Surrealist artists at the heart of the inspirations of the Autumn-Winter 2020-2021 haute couture collection: Lee Miller, Dorothea Tanning, Leonora Carrington, Dora Maar and Jacqueline Lamba.
An indomitable figure of the Surrealist movement that marked the inter-war period, Lee Miller belongs to a generation of women artists whose talent was recognized late – a shadowy flower often confined to her role as muse, even if her powerful and fascinating avant-garde life and artistic oeuvre merits attention. On the occasion of her autumn-winter 2020-2021 haute-couture collection, Maria Grazia Chiuri wished to pay tribute to this magnificently inspiring personality, an emblem of audacity and freedom, through creations that reflect her grace and timeless allure, blending the elegance of haute couture evening wear, a utilitarian spirit and tailoring.
An iconic figure of Surrealist painting, Dorothea Tanning joined the group of artists in exile that formed around André Breton in New York; she met Max Ernst, who was in charge of choosing female artists for Exhibition by 31 Women, a show organized by Peggy Guggenheim in 1943. In a photograph taken by Lee Miller depicting the legendary couple, Dorothea Tanning looks tiny next to Max Ernst, who appears like a giant. For Maria Grazia Chiuri, this image resonates like a revealing symbol for rethinking the notion of the muse and for infusing her collection with new plays on proportions. Her captivating paintings inhabit the autumn-winter 2020-2021 haute couture creations in luminous shades and fantasy creations, like a delicate dress made of Chantilly lace.
Leonora Carrington, a talented artist and Surrealist painter of British origin who died in Mexico City in 2011 at the age of 94, was much more than a muse. Her half-animal, half-human creatures as well as her fantastical landscapes – emblems of her imagination – were exhibited at the Pierre Matisse gallery in New York, as the only female figure selected for a retrospective dedicated to Surrealism. Her poetic art is at the heart of the inspirations for Maria Grazia Chiuri’s haute couture collection.
In the late 1920s, Henriette Théodora Markovitch decided to change her name to Dora Maar – echoing the end of her given name and the beginning of her last name – as a manifesto of her independence and non-conformism. An accomplished photographer, she met Pablo Picasso and became his muse and obsession. She who inspired some of the artist’s most emblematic paintings picked up a brush in turn, dedicating herself to a new form of creative expression. Their passionate and tumultuous relationship captivated the world to the point of eclipsing the audacious artist’s spellbinding work, to which Maria Grazia Chiuri wished to pay homage in her autumn-winter 2020-2021 haute couture collection.
After studying at the Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs and then the Beaux-Arts in Paris, Jacqueline Lamba, driven by a love for creation and the avant-garde in all its forms, worked as a decorator and then a dancer at the Coliseum nightclub in the Pigalle neighborhood. A passionate character, she became the muse and wife of poet André Breton, and partook in the movement — independently of her husband’s aura; they later separated – with paintings, watercolors and objects, exhibited in Paris, London and New York. During a stay at the Villa Air-Bel in Marseille, a veritable refuge for American intellectuals during the occupation, the artist took part in the Jeu de Marseille, a reinterpretation of the divinatory tarot, and reimagined the cards La Roue Sanglante (The Bloody Wheel) and Baudelaire. Génie d’amour - Flamme. The latter inspired the motifs of an emblematic piece in the autumn-winter 2020-2021 haute couture collection designed by Maria Grazia Chiuri.