Dior is launching a RTW line for AW22-23. For its campaign, Maria Bettineschi designed a backdrop called “A New Era”. A Pompeian red room, filled with portraits of women from the 16th-19th Century directs us to the history of women in art and their connection to the next era. Maria has altered the classic artworks of women, making them black and white and softening the focus so that they emphasise the female gaze. The question is “What does she see?” Rather than, “how is she represented?”

Credit: Dior

Dior Autumn-Winter 22-23 RTW includes a mesmerising campaign. Mariella Bettineschi’s work serves as the défilé backdrop. The artist’s installation is hung inside a tent built inside the Tuileries Gardens. It’s just a short walk away from the originals hanging in the Louvre. And for Dior’s live presentation, AW22-23 hosted the largest fashion audience since the beginning of the pandemic.

She is all There Is

Credit: Re-Edition

Maria explains her artistic process in the video, saying

I work on her gaze, her face, the foreground: she is all there is.

The viewer is able to remember this when they gaze back at the women’s unsettling eyes. Bettineschi highlights the female gaze by repeating the eyes of each portrait. As a result, she creates a staggering effect. What do the gazes of 54 women throughout history looking down on us think? Mona Lisa’s enigmatic smile may be a sample. It seems to say “You think you’re enlightened? You should have seen us!”

I Freed Her from all Context

Bettineschi describes her renaissance portrait gallery with terms like “militant”, although militant feminism is part of a wave of feminism which no longer exists. She discusses one of the works in the collection, “Judith beheading Holomernes”.

In some way, she is still suspended in this horror. But at the same time, I freed her from all the context and focussed on her just to show this truly spectacular and beautiful expression. To see 54 women looking at you with four eyes, not two, I think it is a really powerful thing.

Chiuri reinforces her advocacy for the connections she has with female artists with this collaboration.

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