Dior's Cruise 2021 fashion show, beamed across the globe via a lit up square at Lecce Catherdral, was the culmination of a month-long experimentation of digital fashion shows and online experiences. We're usually communing in person with Dior's summertime Cruise shows (last year's Marrakech Cruise show resulted in an epic TANK Magazine visual feast and interview with Maria Grazia Chiuri) so it was with real interest to be able to sit down with a glass of wine, dressed up for no one, and consider a 2D screen view of what is always a sumptuous and considered collection that arrives in stores in November later in the year.

Maria Grazia and the Dior team did not disappoint. In fact, perhaps because of the heightened states of nerves and post lockdown edge, or because of the questions swirling around the cadence of new collection drops, the show felt more impassioned, more collaborative and more handcrafted than ever before. Dior's continuing invitation to other artists, designers, artisans and experts feel so right for these times of shared crises and Maria Grazia's humane approach to fashion instilled in her Dior era has embedded the generosity of collaboration to the nth degree.

In Puglia, where Maria Grazia has personal roots, Dior pulled in collaborators from all local (and international) fronts. The most obvious, lighting up the show set and background in a lacelike illuminated structure, is Fratelli Parisi, established in 1876 and based in Taurisano in the province of Lecce, a local sight during celebrations of the feast of the patron saints and others. Choreographer Sharon Eyal once again created choreography in residency with local troupe The Notte Della Taranta Foundation, steeped in traditional music and moves. The  Pizzica, consisting of three main themes including pizzica tarantata, a liberating and spellbinding dance caused by a spider bite, looks like a form of catharsis that liberates the body and spirit through dance. Fabrics of woven, bi-colour textile designs come from Le Costantine Foundation and their traditional looms, while delicate lace and 3D crochet techniques are Marilena Sparasci's ode to Tombolo, the 15th century Italian lace techinque.  Particularly prevalent in southern Italy, this embroidery, which is in danger of disappearing, is made by hand using painstakingly meticulous gestures that are preciously passed down from generation to generation. The motif is first drawn on a piece of cardboard or paper before being pinned onto a small, typically cylindrical cushion and then reproduced in stitches. Specific to this process, wooden bobbins – called fuselli in Italian –, whose quantities reflect the complexity of the creation, are used to tie, twist or bind the threads. The lace then comes to life, much like the flowers and butterflies designed for the Dior 2021 Cruise collection, which alone require up to fifteen hours of work.

These are but a few of the highlighted collaborators to the ultimate show and collection. When collections such as these celebrate artisan techniques, local craft and handiwork passed down from generation to generation, one can't help but gasp at the imagination and graft that go into making it all come alive. As alive as one must feel from the pizzica...