After traveling through rolling green English countryside on board the Blenheim Dior Express, and at the end of a breathtaking bridle path to end all bridle paths, the guests, welcomed by the sound of a brass band, arrived at the entrance of the imposing palace, which had already hosted Dior shows in 1954 and 1958 Dior, and was the scene for the cruise 2017 show. Inside, the catwalk ran through salons that still conveyed all the pomp and circumstance of when the palace was the princely private residence of the Dukes of Marlborough. It was a voyage through time as much as through places, echoing the collection designed by Lucie Meier and Serge Ruffieux, joint heads of the Christian Dior design team.
With superpositions, clashing motifs and colors, mixes of influences, the highly contemporary attitude was established from the first looks out: it's the mood of a Parisienne of today who would be a Londoner by adoption. From France, she has kept a taste for beautiful things and a lightly-worn elegance, the architectural nature of clothes as beloved of Christian Dior, and an art of refinement, as evidenced by the embroideries through which the extraordinary savoir-faire contained within the House's ateliers is expressed. From England, she has borrowed a certain sense of eccentricity and a taste for mixing and matching styles and eras. The motifs she combines and twists comprise the unquestionably English – floral prints and hunting scenes rendered almost abstract, echoing the décor of the show’s salons – as well as exotic elements that call to mind souvenirs picked up abroad – Asian-inspired floral silks and graphic prints of the African wax type. She merges the two lightheartedly through layering, with a skirt or a dress over trousers, or maybe two skirts worn one over the other.
The singular allure she creates is a personal tribute to the history of British and French fashion. Miniskirts in pop colors, short A-line coats with rounded edges and pockets, skin-tight ribbed knits, all give a nod to Swinging London. Fluid and floral dresses, embellished with flounces and with deep plunging fronts simultaneously evoke a Seventies mood and the Belle Époque style of Madeleine, Christian Dior's mother, and one of his eternal inspirations. Then there are, of course, the homages to the New Look with which the couturier conquered the whole world in 1947: the tweeds and Prince of Wales check he loved are given a new identity, sometimes fringed, and the structure of the emblematic Bar jacket is revisited, whether waisted with drawstrings or graced with pleats to accentuate the volume of the hips.
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