Yesterday, fashion celebrated savoir-faire in the noble setting of the Domaine de Chantilly, an exceptional venue chosen by Maria Grazia Chiuri, Dior Artistic Director, to unveil the Cruise 2019 collection. In the historic chateau near Paris, we got an in-depth view of the regal show space and highly expected, ravishing collection. The rain was pouring, the lightning was flashing, the models were serving, and it was a full fantasy. As expected from an event hosted in the middle of an equestrian museum, it was a real fashion rodeo! It was a fitting location for a collection inspired by Mexican escaramuzas— the extraordinary female rodeo riders who perform stunts wearing embellished sombreros and traditional dresses. “The reason I like escaramuzas is because they do something that is so macho, but they decided to do that in their traditional dresses which are so pretty, so feminine”, stated Chiuri before the show. She designed a collection that features nipped peplum, voluminous ankle length skirts, and red lips to subtly highlight the revolutionary years of Dior. Chiuri put forth yet another feminist message as the downpour accentuated the feminine determination of a woman walking down the runway, in spite of elements working against her.
Chiuri successfully found parallels between the escaramuza dressing and her personal heritage. “This kind of tradition of embroidery is part of my culture, which comes from southern Italy where my father was born, but also in the south of France, as in South America,” she stated. “In some way, I think that all the South has the same language. When we speak about lace, when we speak about embroidery, it’s such a part of different countries that it’s very difficult to understand where they come from.” Known for its longstanding history of lacemaking, Chantilly— a renowned symbol of magisterial elegance and art de vivre— served as the perfect setting for a collection filled with intricate lace. The show began with a brief performance by a troop of escaramuzas wearing Dior riding looks. As the models began walking down the runway, we witnessed many equestrian touches. It was a shame to see all the stunning lace and embroidery get wet, but fortunately the models wore various takes on riding boots and sneakers. Voluminous, tiered and beautifully embroidered ankle-length dresses and skirts make the more feminine part of the collection. The femininity was toned down by a variety of sharp riding jackets, tailored, narrow trousers and wide leather belt bags that cinch the waist. The hats had fairly understated brims and looked more wearable than comical sombreros.
The entire collection is refreshingly wearable and functional. Namely, if all those women can wear similar clothing and perform stunts and tricks, all while riding horses, then so can we! This collection just proves to show that Chiuri does not have to print feminist slogans on plain white T-shirts in order to convey a powerful message about feminism. The movement is back in the saddle, no pun intended! There are two more outdoor cruise shows set for the next few days (Louis Vuitton in Saint Paul de Vence and Gucci in Arles), and I just hope that it won’t rain on their parade.
Photo credit: Vogue, Dior