Welcome to this 10th episode of the Dior Talks podcast ‘Feminist Art’. This series explores the connections between Creative Director of Women’s collections Maria Grazia Chiuri, and contemporary women artists and curators.
In this episode, series host Katy Hessel, a London-based curator, writer and art-historian, speaks with musical artist Ioanna Gika, the Greek-American musical artist who performed at the Cruise 2022 show held in Athens, on the evening of June 17, 2021.
Ioanna Gika was born in Washington D.C. She spent her childhood between Greece and the United States, returning to live at her mother’s Greek home after her father’s death, when she started to write her first album, “Thalassa” (“Sea”) about her life and homeland. She is based in Los Angeles where, in 2009, she founded the band Io Echo with Leopold Ross. They released their debut album in 2013 and have supported Nine Inch Nails, Garbage and Florence + the Machine amongst others. They have performed at the Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals, and Gika has written and performed for movies and television consistently since 2012.
Having already performed at the Cruise 2018 show in Los Angeles, Maria Grazia Chiuri was delighted to invite her to collaborate with the House again. On the night, with a live orchestra and multimedia accompaniments, she recited a poem that reflected her roots in Greece and her rich, powerful voice resonated through the Panathenaic Stadium, the first stone of which was laid over 2500 years ago. She talks about this electrifying experience and the feeling of connection to the past which she felt as she performed. Having toured and sung widely around the world, she notes how unique and different this occasion was and how profoundly she seemed to be grounded in the moment. The monumental location itself possesses a huge significance. Constructed in white marble, it was a primary setting for the first modern Olympic Games. Its length symbolizes an ancient unit of measurement and, crucially for both the singer and Maria Grazia Chiuri, it was the first place in Classical Greece where women could freely appear and socialize in public.
Ioanna Gika reflects on notions of the word ‘race’ – the human race, the race against time, to participate in a race. The conjunction of these meanings in the stadium created a poignant combination of symbols and thoughts for her. She goes on to consider the personal and social significance of clothes, both in general and also the creations in the collection and the remarkable outfit specially designed for her. Like Maria Grazia Chiuri, she is inspired by the colors of Greece, by the use of blue and all the historical and mystical connotations which accompany it. She also weaves a beautiful connection between the visual sensations of fashion and womanhood and the sensory streams of consciousness so prevalent in her own music.