Dior Embarks on a Cross-Cultural Journey for Cruise 2017

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Dior's Cruise 2017 collection underscored a cross-cultural blend of ideas, and was centered on classically French Dior codes.

All aboard!

In what was one of the brand’s more ambitious Cruise events to date, Dior kicked off its Cruise celebration at “The Lady Dior”, a pop-up pub in London where fashionable guests were met with Dior-themed branding that even took into account the shrubbery outside. Then it was off to Victoria Station where they boarded the Dior Blenheim Express to Oxfordshire where celebrities like Emma Roberts, Kate Mara, and Elizabeth Olsen were whisked away to Blenheim Palace in a convoy of 100 black Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

If this sounds like an elaborate set-up for a seven-minute Cruise show, it was par for the course for a luxury brand of Dior’s stature – whose competition recently included Chanel’s vivid Havana extravaganza and Louis Vuitton’s futuristic display in Rio De Janeiro. The Cruise season has taken on new importance for brands as it tends to stay on retail shelves longer than its Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter counterparts. As such, they are meant to echo the travel and leisure nature of the Cruise season and to expand a client’s relationship with the brand by including them in a fully realized 360-degree experience rather than a show event – hence the far-flung locales and opulent event itineraries.

If this sounds like an elaborate set-up for a seven-minute Cruise show, it was par for the course for a luxury brand of Dior’s stature.

The Cruise event was also staged in support of the newly renovated and newly opened Dior store on New Bond Street in London, while Blenheim Palace held further significance as the Cruise 2017 venue for the brand which had staged major shows there before in both 1954 and 1958. For brands looking to provide the aforementioned 360-degree experience for clientele and celebrity patrons, the Blenheim location really brought things full circle. The collection itself underscored a cross-cultural blend of ideas, and was centered on classically French Dior codes like the nipped-waist ‘Bar’ silhouette, sloped-and-rounded shoulders, and floral decorative elements, as well as polished English countryside attire found in rough-hewn tweeds, dresses embroidered with hunting scenery, and tidy poplin frocks.

Dior Cruise 2017 Finale
Photo: Courtesy of Dior

Yet the work that Lucie Meier and Serge Ruffieux – the brand’s interim designers who are steadily producing worthwhile collections despite the lack of a “celebrity” Creative Director – take things in a more unconventional direction. The mix of African elements and Asian silks didn’t speak to the French-English theme, and more youthful surprises came in the form of cropped leather trousers, asymmetrical necklines, and off-kilter layers and palette pairings. In action, the clothes held close to the body, but streamer-like elements enlivened the pieces with movement. Sharp equestrian pieces like tailored riding jackets and tweed breeches will look fantastic on Dior’s ladylike clients, and for the fashion-forward pack there are reinvented ‘Bar’ jackets with volume that comes from turban-like gathered folds rather than padding.

Makeup was severe and hair was scraped back against the skull, while accessories were chunky and bold, notable for their Art Deco shapes and metallic magpie magnetism. It was all very English posh as seen through a distorted lens, a clue that Dior’s DNA is strong enough to withstand changes of aesthetic direction. When Dior is attempting to sell whole looks, it will do best with solid pieces like a lemon yellow silk or a glossy leather zip-front dress/jacket hybrid, but other mix-and-match pairings will make more sense when reduced to single pieces rather than worn together all at once.

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