How many terms do the English have for rain? A few of the quainter ones were being trotted out by the natives who had boarded “The Dior Express” as it chugged through the Oxfordshire countryside, bound for Blenheim Palace May 31st (see my Instagram-story @andreajankeofficial direct from the show). It was bucketing down, pelting, chucking it down, raining cats and dogs doing everything in its power, in fact, to rain on the grand, sweeping country house location of Dior’s Resort show.
Visitors can’t have been all that surprised English summer and downpours are a national cliché, after all, but though all hopes of glorious walks in the formal gardens and sightseeing in the parkland of the Duke of Marlborough’s estate were dashed well before the train left Victoria station, the show, thankfully, wasn’t a complete washout.
As a brand, Christian Dior depends more religiously than others on the narrative of its past, and it does have a history with Blenheim. Two charity Christian Dior shows were held in the ’50s in the vast, golden-hued country house built by the architect Sir John Vanbrugh as a gift to John Churchill, the 1st Duke of Marlborough, in the early 18th century. They were haute couture shows, both held in the presence of Princess Margaret, the Queen’s naughtier and more fashionable sister, who was a Dior customer. The first, in 1954, was designed by Christian Dior, the second, in 1958, by Yves Saint Laurent, who took over immediately after his death. The third, in 2016, was designed by Lucie Meier and Serge Ruffieux. Only, of course, theirs wasn’t a couture collection but a Resort show the interim season that has somehow become the mega-competition ground between the fashion power brands that are now engaged in a new war of location one-upmanship.
Make no mistake: The lofty library at Blenheim is pretty up as a backdrop, especially for a house everyone knows will soon pass into the hands of a new designer, as yet to be announced. As a place-holding collection, it didn’t attempt to match the grandeur of the surroundings, but worked more in the idiom of slightly quirky young daywear a bit of this, a bit of that which is vaguely coalescing into a thing. There were puffed sleeves, asymmetrical drawstrings, cropped leather pants with piecrust flares, striped shirting panels, scarf-like streamers flowing from wrists, and chunky gilded deco heels styling that at times called J.W.Anderson’s methods to mind. The designers dutifully sent out a few routine versions of the coatdresses Dior is known for, and a couple of distinctly odd tripartite silhouettes with either a very large belt or a very short skirt layered with a sweater and a longer skirt. Still, there were two lovely floral-print tea dresses here, too, straightforwardly pretty, easy things that will doubtless sell well.
Enjoy the DIOR Cruise 2017 runway show at the end of this post & stay-tuned for my live-stream on Instagram @andreajankeofficial from the DIOR Fall/Winter 2016/17 Haute Couture presentation July 4th, 2:30 PM - enjoy! LoL, Andrea
Lucie Meyer & Serge Ruffieux, heads of the House of DIOR inhouse team
Selections by ANDREA JANKE Finest Accessories
Photo Credit/Source: The House of DIOR
Photography by Yannis Vlamos / InDigital
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