Maria Grazia Chiuri believes fashion is a ''very powerful medium''.

The 53-year-old designer has admitted since taking on the role as the creative director of Dior last year she has not only had to learn about the brand's house style, but also how the late fashion designer and founder of the company Christian Dior thought, which has made her ''realise'' the power designer's have in the business.

Speaking to The Telegraph Online, the creative mastermind said: ''Since I've been researching Christian Dior, I've learned that understanding this house isn't just about learning how he cut. It's discovering how he thought. He was a gallerist before he worked in fashion. He had avant-garde tastes and a lot of views that for the times were quite progressive. Plus, I've realised that fashion is a very powerful medium.''

Maria - who previously worked at fashion houses Valentino and Fendi - believes she became ''complacent'' and didn't feel she needed to be ''vocal'' about feminism when she was younger.

She explained: ''For all those years I worked at Fendi, it never occurred to me to be vocal. It was such an amazing company - and entirely run by the five Fendi sisters. There didn't seem any need to shout about feminism. I guess I had got very complacent, like a lot of my generation.

''But I grew up in a family where nudity was totally OK and natural. I never saw a contradiction between showing your body and being feminist.''

However, Maria thinks women are their ''own worst enemies'' because they do their utmost to please other people rather than speak out when they need to make themselves a priority.

She continued: ''Women are often their own worst enemies in this respect. We're so conditioned to think the most important thing is to please others, that we don't always put ourselves forward. You have to keep challenging your thinking. That's the only way to change anything.''