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What went down at Dior’s Blenheim Palace show

A Dior Express train, Bella Hadid hitting the runway and The Weeknd watching the show – here’s everything you missed

There are few names in fashion as culturally significant as Christian Dior. The French designer founded his storied maison back in 1946, quickly transforming his name into an empire synonymous with femininity and opulence. It seems fitting to reference Dior's early years as today's 2017 Cruise collection marked a return for the house to Blenheim Palace, marking the third collection shown in the baroque Oxfordshire manor.

But unlike the first designed back in 1954 when Dior himself was at the helm, or the second in 1958 when Yves Saint Laurent had creative control, today’s collection was designed by an in-house team led by head designers Serge Ruffieux and Lucie Meier. The brand has famously been without a creative director since late last year, when designer Raf Simons resigned from the post – naturally, news outlets worldwide have been speculating as to who could replace Simons for a while.

Creative director or not, the Cruise collection succeeded in revamping house codes; there were embellished peplums and myriad floral prints as expected, but a series of more relaxed layered looks and nods toward vintage tea dresses were unexpected. The show’s build-up was equally intriguing, featuring a 24-hour Snapchat takeover, a specially-designed pub and even a custom Dior Express train which transported guests to the venue. If you didn’t manage to catch the live stream, here’s what you missed.

DIOR MARKED THE OCCASION WITH ITS VERY OWN PUB

The French house celebrated its Cruise collection in very British style last night, taking over Mayfair’s Audley pub for one night only. The iconic ‘Lady Dior’ became the event’s official logo; she adorned mirrors, walls and coasters and was armed, in true English fashion, with a pint. She was even ‘tattooed’ on the biceps of waiters that served champagne and ham and cheese toasties to the likes of Susie Bubble and Dazed cover star Kiernan Shipka.

GUESTS TRAVELLED IN STYLE ON THE DIOR EXPRESS

Guests travelled to the venue in old-school luxury, boarding the Dior Express at London’s Victoria station. Specially-hired train guards were on-board in a stylish dove grey uniform accessorised with custom ‘Dior Express’ hats; not only did they welcome the show’s lucky invitees to the train, they also served gourmet meals to ensure that all guests were treated like royalty.

EMMA ROBERTS TOOK OVER THE DIOR SNAPCHAT

The star of American Horror Story and Scream Queens was given access to the brand’s Snapchat, allowing followers to glimpse the show’s build-up in real time. Roberts began her 24-hour takeover with a series of filtered snaps showing her make-up for last night’s pre-show dinner before allowing guests unprecedented access to the Dior Express and its celebrity passengers just minutes before the show’s start.

BELLA HADID MADE HER DEBUT AS THE BRAND’S BEAUTY AMBASSADOR

It was just this morning that model Bella Hadid announced her appointment as Dior’s new Beauty Ambassador to her 4.6million Instagram followers. Hadid is scheduled to star in a miniseries entitled ‘Dior Make-Up Live With Bella Hadid’ and finished her busy day with a runway appearance dressed in a sequinned gown.

INSIDE THE VENUE WAS AN IRL FANTASY

Dior is well-known for commissioning elaborate floral displays to adorn show venues, one of which famously featured 300,000 individual flowers in total. This time the gilded interior of Blenheim Palace was left relatively untouched but floral flourishes were in full display over at the buffet table; a magnificent croquembouche was the centrepiece for Dior’s flower-strewn afternoon tea, a real-life fantasy banquet created to satisfy the cravings of the fashion elite. 

SLICKED-BACK LOCKS + SMOKY EYE = THIS SEASON’S BEAUTY LOOK

Creative and image director Peter Philips was on hand backstage to create a distinctive smoky brown eye which became the star of an otherwise neutral beauty look. Hair was slicked back to further emphasise the bold shadow, resulting in a look which suggested a bold twist on a classic style.

EMBELLISHMENT WAS EVERYWHERE

The house of Dior is known for its focus on textural embellishment, often using florals as a starting point. Cruise stayed true to these signature codes, featuring sculptural embellished tops reminiscent of the iconic ‘New Look’ silhouette and elaborate beaded minidresses. 

DIOR REFERENCED THE BEST OF BRITISH

The collection was laden with as many references to British history as Blenheim Palace itself. The classic British tea-dress was reworked and presented in several variations, often given a modern twist with peplum detailing and layered silhouettes.

AND THE WEEKND TURNED UP TO OFFER HIS SUPPORT

Who else would show up for Bella Hadid’s Dior debut than The Weeknd, her beau. He watched the show seated next to actress Kate Beckinsale – but whether he took his shades off is still TBC.