Welcome to Dior Cruise 2017. Probably the most played collection plastered all over social media with action moments starting a few hours earlier at Victoria Station, London where select guests boarded a special Belmond British Pullman (a sister train to the Venice-Simplon Orient Express, now dubbed the Blenheim Dior Express) in designated compartments like Phoenix or Gwen for a two hour ride to Oxfordshire palace in the middle of the English countryside.
Various guests posted on social media them boarding the Dior Express while also standing before two station attendants in special Dior Express uniforms. Just moments after the train departed and long before it reached the English countryside, the world knew Emma Roberts was wearing a black off-the-shoulder dress and sitting in front of a dining table ready for the three course lunch that would be served during the short journey.
It was a coming home of sorts for Christian Dior; the label has twice previously used Blenheim Palace as the backdrop for haute couture presentations – in 1954 with its eponymous founder and with a young Yves Saint Laurent at the helm in 1958.
The collection unveiled by Lucie Meier and Serge Ruffieux, the in-house designers leading its creative team until a successor to Raf Simons is announced, showed some of the Swiss pair’s vision for Dior. They married shapes and detailing from the Dior archives with a contemporary, rebellious spirit. The accessories especially had a youthful re-vap, something that they needed to see. There was a rendered blend of rustic tweeds, vivid jacquard that conjured 19th century paintings of horses and hounds (including the runway carpet), draped tea dresses and curvaceous bar jackets updated for the modern Dior woman.
This vision of Dior is darker and more subversive than the almost angelic purity espoused under Simons; it takes some getting used to, but has its merits, almost. Intense clashing prints, rich colours and a more urban way of dressing have spiced up the Dior essence. It was evident that the inspiration for the cruise show came from post-war high society wardrobes, and there was a distinctive prettiness to the English floral prints, their bolts of red and pink referencing hunting pink. Beautifully embellished peplum, dramatic full sleeves and svelte, close-fitting jackets looked striking.
As for those few journalists scribbling notes into their journal, what did they write? Something generic about the post-war fashion relationship between France and England, between the past and the present, and the urge for the new through travel? Probably the most easiest yet cutest plug? Or a note about the French couture traditions merging with English pastoral life, and the latter’s tradition of the hunt anchoring the layered, voluminous jackets with large side pockets and short flare pants in varied prints, knits, and silk velvets?
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