Dior pairs cave painting with cowboys for Californian cruise show
As the sun set over the Santa Monica mountains, Dior presented its first cruise collection from Maria Grazia Chiuri, infused with Southern California desert style. This is Chiuri’s first cruise collection for the French fashion house since replacing Raf Simons as creative director, and pieces echoed Chiuri’s signature themes of sheer embroidered skirts, straps embellished with the Christian Dior logo, and the signature red tulle gowns she also developed while at Valentino.
The Cruise 2018 collection however imbued those same styles with a Southwestern edge not seen before in the French fashion house, present in the horse-printed blankets draped over the models, the bolero ties, and sunset-inspired colors. The models also wore bolero ties around their necks in place of jewelry, and flat, wide-brimmed cowboy hats. Practically cowgirl couture.
Attendees were advised not to wear heels and to bring jackets to counteract the cold that sets in the LA mountains after dark. Each guest’s seat was adorned with a “Dior Sauvage” branded blanket to help those who hadn’t dressed warmly for California’s cool nights. The models followed the same practical trend; all wore rugged boots, strappy sandals or practical flats, which kicked up dirt and dust as they stalked down the runway snaking through the site’s white tents. Many were dressed up in quilted jackets and belted ponchos printed with Southwestern sunset colors.
Two huge balloons – reading Dior Sauvage – decorated the landscape, before an audience perched on raw jute benches and loungers.
Chiuri took inspiration for the collection’s aesthetics and prints from the prehistoric rock paintings of the famed Grotte de Lascaux cave, which was made public in 1940 and served as inspiration to Christian Dior himself in 1951. Chiuri also cited Georgia O’Keeffe, an icon of American southwestern art, as inspiration. "I want to have a dialogue with the new generation of Dior women, that they can choose the piece, they can mix in different ways," Chiuri said. "What does it mean to be feminine, to be a brand that speaks about women? I think it has to speak about equal opportunity," she said.
Many guests wore Dior’s now famous “We should all be feminists” t-shirts, and the originator of the phrase was in attendance as well. The celebrated Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who loaned the “We Should All Be Feminists” title of her book to Dior, came to the Los Angeles presentation. She praised Chiuri’s collection for addressing the needs of real women. “It felt to me very grounded in the idea of what women will actually wear,” Adichie said.
Though many fashion houses have taken to showing their cruise or resort collections in vacations spots, as Gucci will later this month with its Italian Pitti Palace show, Dior broke new ground by taking a luxury French fashion house to the LA wilderness. Of course, being in Southern California, the show didn’t fail to attract plenty of Hollywood fans of Dior. Among those in attendance were actresses like Demi Moore, Kiernan Shipka, Laura Dern, Freida Pinto and fashion legend Anjelica Huston. Longtime Dior fan Rihanna also made an appearance in the brand’s latest offerings. Industry veterans like Nina Garcia also attended, and the Dior show even managed to bring out New York City fashion fixtures, such as Leandra Medine of Man Repeller. “I thought it was the strongest collection she’s put out,” Medine told FashionNetwork.com.
To cap off the evening in the Southern California mountains, Dior invited no less than Solange Knowles to entertain the crowd. At the end of the evening, Knowles performed tracks from her recent album A Seat at the Table, and praised the fashion industry’s recent initiative to be more inclusive of people of different backgrounds.
Thanks to its beautiful backdrop and proximity to Hollywood, this Dior Cruise 2018 show had a major impact for the French fashion house. Los Angeles’ notorious rush hour traffic may be difficult to overcome for the New York or Paris crowd, but the setting is certainly worth it.
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