Dior’s Rachele Regini has adorned her Chelsea home with colourful artworks and feminist literature that inspire her diverse wardrobe
Rachele Regini opens the door to her first-floor Chelsea apart-ment, situated on a quiet, leafy square between the stylish boutiques of the King’s Road and the upmarket furniture shops of Brompton Cross. The bright space i s fi l l e d w i t h t r i b u t e s t o h e r c l o s e – k n i t f a m i l y, including a series of beautiful black and white portraits of Regini with her mother, Dior’s artistic director Maria Grazia Chiuri, that hang in the hall-way. ‘We’re spending even more time together,’ Regini says, referring to her new role working alongside Chiuri as an advisor to the Dior creative studio. ‘My job is to make sure that all our ideas about gender, cultural appropriation and the academic side of what my mother decides to incor-porate into the collections are well-researched.’Regini grew up in Rome, where her mother worked as a designer at Fendi, as part of the team that developed the famous Baguette handbag. ‘There are pic-tures of me aged three in the showroom, organising bags with my brother,’ Regini says. ‘When I was a child, fashion was a part of everything that we did, but it was never glamorised – it was just my mum’s job.’ As a teenager, she used to take days off school to go to the shows. At the time, Chiuri was pro-ducing spectacular catwalk looks at Valentino with her long-time cre a tive partner Pierpaolo Piccioli, modern-ising the brand’s couture and pushing it to the forefront of the industry. ‘I attended a Cath olic institution in the local neigh bourhood and, like other people my age, I rem-ember just wanting to blend in with my friends,’ she says. ‘But I always felt like I was the weird one who didn’t fit in.’ By 16, Regini had relocated to London in order to study at an international college.
‘I had never lived alone before, and was anxious, but my mum told me not to worry – if you fail, you just come back to Rome,’ she says. ‘She gave me a safety net – this idea that failure was OK.’ Regini’s move to the British capital was also key to the evolution of her own look: ‘I met so many people from different backgrounds, and I realised no one cared what I wore. That’s when I started developing a type of style.’ She went on to complete an art-history degree at Gold-smiths University, before studying for a masters in gender, media and culture. ‘I had been reading so much about women in art, and performance artists like Carolee Schneemann, so it was the logical next step,’ she says.It was Regini who first introduced her mother to the influential feminist essay ‘Why have there been no great women artists? ’ by the art historian Linda Nochlin. ‘When something excites me, I talk to my mother about it,’ she says. ‘Creative people are sponges – they capture everything. We would give each other books to read, like having a book club between the two of us.
’ Chiuri went on to include Nochlin’s quote on a Breton-striped shirt for Dior’s spring/summer 2018 collection – a typic-ally courageous move that epitomises her belief in fashion as a force for female empowerment. ‘Everyone has this idea that Dior is a feminine brand, but the notion of femininity has changed so much in the past 20 years,’ Regini says. ‘So, it made sense for my mum to say, let’s look at what it means today and present that to everyone.’The pair’s shared passion for feminist literature and history is reflected in the contents of Regini’s bookshelves, which feature authors such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Chiuri’s friend and collabo-rator), Zadie Smith, Germaine Greer, Erica Jong, Virginia Woolf, Shulamith Firestone and Simone de Beauvoir.
Her apartment is also home to a collection of colourful objets d’art, including a Mexican-inspired skull covered in mosaic tiles that she found in a fleamarket in Pasadena, Cali-fornia, and prints by female artists including the fashion photographer Deb orah Turb-e ville. In the master bedroom, there is a floor-to-ceiling neon light shaped into the word ‘peace’ in 12 different lan-guages, and above the bed are cushions knitted by the wives of World War I soldiers, discovered at a vintage fair and now displayed in glass cases.A rummage inside Regini’s wardrobe reveals an assortment of retro clothes, along-side the latest Dior designs, including a fluffy shearling coat and biker boots. ‘My mum is crazy about vintage and has been taking me to fairs and shops since I was four.
I buy so much of it!’ she says. Sacai, Isabel Marant and Miu Miu are other favourites, as well as Levi’s for its Re/Done jeans. Her jewellery box includes earrings by the Italian brand Attilio Codognato, charms by Samuel François and studs from Maria Tash. ‘I love the Seventies, and Anita Pallenberg, but what I wear changes depending on where I am,’ she says. ‘In Paris, I’m more conven-t i o n a l l y f e m i n i n e t h a n L o n d o n , w h e r e I dress more punk. In Rome, it’s relaxed and laid-back. I think it makes a difference for young people to see that there’s not just one model of what being female looks like.’