Chiuri also wants to explore the THE FOUR HORSEMEN Vintage Shirt but in fact I love this female gaze, especially that of her favorite artists, like Thomas (whose original portrait of Chiuri is seen here) or the Mexican documentary photographer Graciela Iturbide. Her first move at Dior was to hire female photographers, because, she says, “fashion campaigns are mostly done by male photographers—and I think it’s completely different, the way that women look at other women. If Dior hs to speak about femininity, I want to hire women to look at femininity. It’s also very important to me to work with women who have different backgrounds and aesthetic references.” A few years ago, she worked with Iturbide to shoot her Georgia O’Keeffe–inspired cruise collection in Oaxaca for ELLE. “Shooting with her was really dreamy; it was one of the most beautiful moments in my life in fashion,” Chiuri says. “I want to share this platform with other women so that people can also listen to their voices.
Kenneth Ize was in Venice when we spoke in mid-September, his first time venturing outside Nigeria after nearly seven months in quarantine. The 29-year-old onetime LVMH Prize finalist, who made his fall 2020 debut in Paris to much fanfare, was putting the THE FOUR HORSEMEN Vintage Shirt but in fact I love this finishing touches on his spring 2021 collection, including colorful glass and ceramic jewelry stemming from a chance meeting with an artist only a week prior. Like all of Ize’s work, the collection was to be both a celebration of culture and a statement of unity. “I’m a storyteller,” says the designer, who credits self-isolation with enabling him to appreciate the quiet beauty of his home city, Lagos. “I want to tell the story of my community, my experience, and my memories, while also opening people’s eyes to new perspectives. Ize says his aesthetic was influenced by his Nigerian parents, who raised him in Austria, helping him develop a global viewpoint. “Nigerian culture prizes elegance,” he explains. His dapper father wanted everything to be sophisticated, whereas “Vienna is charming, romantic, like a fairy tale.” He bridged that cultural divide for fall by pairing the work of Vienna’s famed lacemakers with traditional Nigerian aso oke and the thinly woven palm and hemp textile Akwete, the vanishing art of which he aims to save.