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By Sinéad Tan
/19 May 2017
Creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri reimagined a number of familiar silhouettes and iconography for her sophomore Dior Cruise show, held at the Santa Monica Mountains Nature Preserve. The distinctive square-necked corset dresses and sheer layered skirts have made appearances in Chiuri’s collections since she first debuted at Dior, albeit in tones of rust, auburn and ochre. Models were sent out in a contemporary take on Dior’s Bar jacket, featuring a recognisable cinched waist, padded hips and elevated bust. Tarot illustrations by feminist shamanic healers Vicki Noble and Karen Vogel were printed on T-shirts and leather jackets, just months after Dior unveiled clutches embroidered with tarot card images for Spring-Summer 2017.
The Lascaux Cave in southwestern France and rock paintings found within have been a key source of inspiration for artists since their discovery in 1940. The 600 wall paintings of wild animals dating back to the Paleolithic era were redolent of mankind’s primitive origins, the invention of art, and the relationship between humans and nature. The house’s founder Christian Dior himself made a print from the rock paintings for his Ovale line in 1951, and Chiuri in turn took inspiration from the brand’s illustrious history by featuring embroidery and paintings of women and animals in her designs.
Among the 800 guests in attendance were Hollywood A-listers, pop stars, and fashion darlings. Fifty buggies were required to transport all the guests – including Freida Pinto, Kiko Mizuhara, Nick Jonas and Camila Coelho – to the venue. Solange Knowles, draped in an all-white Dior ensemble, performed a set from her latest record, 'A Seat at the Table'.
While the headwear of choice at Dior’s Fall Winter 2017 show was sleek black leather berets, the hats accompanying each look at Cruise 2018 were decidedly more rugged and suited to the surrounding environment. Flat-brimmed hats, some embroidered with Western motifs and others embellished with turquoise beading, paid tribute to American artist Georgia O’Keeffe and her signature Parson’s hats.
As spelt out in massive letters installed in the Californian desert, the show was entitled “Dior Sauvage”; Sauvage is a French word meaning wild or natural. The runway was situated against a backdrop of wilderness – eighteen tents, two hot air balloons and four caravans, and the hills of Calabasas visible beyond. It took 150 people working on-site for two weeks to prepare for the event. Chiuri drew inspiration from one of her favourite books, Clarissa Pinkola Estés’ 'Women Who Run with the Wolves', giving rise to the Cruise show’s untamed and shamanic atmosphere. “Most people, when they think of L.A., think of Hollywood and celebrities,” Chiuri said in an interview with The New York Times, discussing her choice of venue. “But there is another element to this city, which is the way you live in contact with the outdoors.”
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