It was a moment (or a few hours more like), to remember, as Lucie Meier and Serge Ruffieux, the creative team now at the helm of Christian Dior, opened the doors of the Blenheim Palace in the U.K. once more for the Christian Dior 2017 Resort show. Following the shock departure of Raf Simons, all eyes were on the duo to see if they would follow in his footsteps or move entirely away from the direction he had set up for the brand.
Given that the Blenheim Palace has been used twice before by the brand to show its collections, it seems staying true to the brand’s heritage, it was used as a location first in 1954 by Christian Dior himself, and second in 1958 by Yves Saint Laurent.
The Dior show commenced with the arrival of The Dior Express — an elegantly decked out train carriage which carried celebrities Emma Roberts, Elizabeth Olsen, Kate Mara and others into a world of grandeur. The experience was classic Dior, elegantly romantic and offered up the perfect, pre-show Instagram moment.
Within the palace, gold baroque and multiple rows of elegant Napoleon chairs added to the royal atmosphere. This was a throwback to the fifties, where haute couture shows were presented only to a royal audience. However in 2016, we see a shift as Dior presents an interim collection. The venue was quintessentially English, however the interior was inherently French-styled baroque.
Hair and make up was styled by Peter Philips, the Creative and Image Director for Dior Make Up. Philips wanted to create a dramatic yet modern makeup look that revolves around emotions and memories. The eyeshadows were the highlight, with a darker, messier look that created an authentic manifesto for graphic modernity.
The overall theme seemed to be very much about a desire to explore, which makes sense given the recent changes at Dior of late. The creative team drew inspiration not only from a post-war high society wardrobe (classic Dior) but also the sense of restlessness and wanderlust associated with that period, a time when everyone was looking towards a better life.
Devoré velvets and silks adorned in Asian and African prints and embroidery were used to express the idea of jetsetting, while crisp poplin shirts with a country twist to showcase one’s inner flâneuse — the female version of a flâneur — one who observes society.
We also spy puffier sleeves, looser silhouettes and silks — perfect to beat the summer heat. It felt as though there was an illusion to broaden the models shoulders; as though to add a level of empowerment with the clothes. The bags were also eye-catching. We adore the idea of a handbag-meets-fanny-pack because you can easily strap them around your waist or arm.
The collection also featured a distinctive English country quality. We spotted rustic tweed jackets, wool knitted tops and trousers — an expression of the English tradition of the hunt, showcasing more about the decorative arts aspect rather than its reality. In a more modern sense, there was also keen sense of subculture influence that was very much a part of the U.K in the sixties. English floral silk crêpe dresses were omnipresent, paired with laced up booties for a little more grunge.
Essentially, the creative team balanced Parisian haute couture, with more subversive, modernist elements. While the collection is quintessentially Dior in its femininity and shapes, it also has English subculture influences which makes for a very contemporary resort collection, with decorative details and intricate scenes of equestrian were weaved into an array of country florals and pictorial jacquards.
Dior, ION, 2 Orchard Turn, 01-22 & 02-12/13, Singapore 238801, +65 6509 8828, www.dior.com