The Disappointment in Dior’s Spring/Summer 2020 Haute Couture Show

Hey y’all! My name is Janie Tompkins and in this column I will share my thoughts on all things fashion, from shows and industry news to campus-based fashion events. I have a true passion for fashion, and it informs a large part of my daily life. While I will write about topics that the average person may not be fully aware of, I hope to make fashion something that is accessible to everyone, including those who aren’t gurus “de la mode”. If you have any suggestions, contact me at


As I sat down to watch the latest Dior Spring/Summer Haute Couture show, I wondered if Maria Grazia Chiuri (MGC), creative director of Dior, would finally deliver a show worthy enough for me to watch until the end. Whenever a Dior show pops up in my notifications tab, I feel an obligation to watch it considering how big the name is, but I always do so grudgingly—and for a good reason.

The show featured 77 lifeless designs inspired by artist Judy Chicago, with the theme being “What if Women Ruled the World?” This idea was not translated into the collection, and ultimately, this Haute Couture show was a disappointment. But before we dig into why this collection was so banal, we must understand what it means for something to be Haute Couture.

During Haute Couture shows, designers are meant to take risks with their designs and really go all out—they do not have to be particularly wearable, as that is saved for the Ready to Wear collection that is made in higher quantities and cheaper prices for the general public to buy.

Thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours go into making an Haute Couture garment, and they are typically one-of-a-kind or specially tailored for one client. The garments are really meant to be pieces of art rather than articles of clothing. Being a Haute Couture house is an extremely esteemed position, as there are currently only fifteen Haute Couture houses in the world as regulated by French Law (yes, it is taken that seriously.)

The House of Dior is one of the houses to hold this prestigious title, and frankly, this collection completely degraded the name of Dior and the bold, revolutionary designs that it stood for at one point. The designs themselves were nothing we have not seen before, and the colors, silhouettes, and fabrics were all painfully repetitive. The show featured 31 bland, boring tulle pieces, 15 drab suiting variations all in the same two fabrics, and everything else was too vapid to be memorable. Only 10 of the 77 designs were in tones other than various beiges, taupes, browns, or whites, which was quite ironic considering the psychedelic and colorful nature of Chicago’s work. Overall, this collection was anything but Haute Couture.

I could only really note one positive aspect of this show—certain fabrics in the collection did move beautifully. Between the golden fringed skirts and flowing organza gowns, there were many pieces that seemed to defy gravity and be moving in slow motion when the models walked. However, I really didn’t find this as anything to be reverential of, as almost any reputable designer is able to do that, and at this point in the game, nicely moving fabric is really something that should be expected. Maybe next time, MGC will present a product that doesn’t make me want to fall asleep while watching it, but I find the chances of this to be low.