Under a gray and gloomy sky that cracked open just in time to drench the models and guests at Dior’s Cruise 2019 presentation, Maria Grazia Chiuri unveiled her latest influence with a collection that can only be described as “Latin American and European equestrian fusion”. Latin America came through by way of eight Mexican escaramuzas, who braved the downpour to perform an awe-inspiring demonstration of female might and athletic prowess. Wearing traditional looks designed by Dior – known as ‘Adelita’ dresses – the escaramuzas wheeled and spun, masterfully controlling the powerful steeds they rode.
While this type of sport might be thought of as masculine, the escaramuzas were boldly feminine in their dazzling dresses, a fitting message given Chiuri’s feminist proclamations. Europe’s equestrian influence balanced the collection at hand, filling it with riding suits fit for an actual fox hunt. The two equestrian universes couldn’t be more different, and yet they synthesized beautifully.
Contending with the elements is part of planning one’s wardrobe in this new world of climate change, and the daywear portion of the presentation certainly underscored the hardy nature of the clothes, which easily withstood the sleeting onslaught.
Equestrian-inspired separates came decorated with Toile de Jouy prints – the kind of imaginative, inky sketches of jungle underbrush and safari scenes that might decorate a limited-edition Rudyard Kipling novel. They proffered a motif that was to be repeated from the first look to the last across feminine skirts, silky trenches, dresses, and even leather jackets and denim trousers, all done in muted tones.
Disrupting the subdued palette and breaking through the gloom were a variety of crocheted knits, done in fantastic rainbow hues on dark backdrops. These formed sleeveless dresses, whose skirts were embroidered with colorful talismans.
At this point, Chiuri has assembled a distinct aesthetic.
At this point, Chiuri has assembled a distinct aesthetic. She loves to mix and match sheer, tulle (“naked”) dresses with sturdier pieces, like tweed blazers and leather jackets. Top it off with a smart chapeau and the flat slap of sneakers and rubber galoshes, and you have yourself a look worthy of a “like” from the Instagram crowd.
Naturally, these options were aplenty. There was a lineup of familiar naked dresses done in muted sage, dusty mauve, and rose, as well as looks engineered from floral embroidery on a dark backdrop, honeycombed together to form lovely dresses. There were tops so delicately cut from leather as to resemble lace, and speaking of lace, there was miles of it transformed into frothy frocks befitting the presentation’s locale in the town of Chantilly. The only downside was seeing so much exquisite handiwork dampened by the mournful sky.