A casual two hour drive away from the city centre is the Château de Chantilly, a 19th-century castle. This was the location of the show, which took place outside in the grounds. Despite beautiful weather during the day, the heavens opened just before show time – meaning the set (a sandy manège with a maypole in its centre) got a little damp. If anything, it only added to the drama.
THERE WERE MEXICAN COWGIRLS
Yep, you heard that right. The inspiration for the show was the escaramuzas, Mexican women horse riders who participate in competitive shows called charreada. So naturally, Dior shipped a whole squad of them over. They started the show riding (side saddle!) in custom outfits based on their traditional ones – full embroidered skirts and wide-brimmed hats – before assembling around the maypole in the centre of the showspace. (Cowgirl) hats off to them.
Opening the show was Selena Forrest, followed by Ruth Bell in riding pants and rubber boots who conjured up Annie Leibovitz’s iconic image of Anjelica Huston. The collection took inspiration from the costumes of the escaramuzas, borrowing their silhouettes of nipped in waist with a wide skirt. Naturally, Dior heritage was central: bar jackets and a dress from the 1948 couture collection which was reimagined. The mainly monochrome collection also included prints that featured blossom trees and tigers. Elsewhere, wide-brimmed decorated and riding hats – created by milliner and longtime collaborator Stephen Jones – were worn by models.
The iconic kidney-shaped style made a comeback at the last ready-to-wear collection, which was inspired by the spirit of 60s protest. A no-brainer considering the equestrian theme, the beloved retro Dior staple of the 00s reappeared on tonight’s runway in monogrammed versions, as well as appropriate leather styles.
IT WAS ALL ABOUT FEMALE STRENGTH
Which should come as no surprise considering designer Maria Grazia Chiuri’s track record. The designer further cited The House of the Spirits by the Chilean writer Isabel Allende and its portrayals of strong female characters.