Not far from Paris are the Grandes Écuries, notorious for being the largest stables in Europe and just one part of the Domaine de Chantilly, an otherworldly Renaissance-style château built for the seventh Prince de Condé, Louis-Henri de Bourbon. Undoubtedly, another exquisite location for the house of Dior proceeding the 2017 show held in the Calabasas desert.

The debut of the 2019 Dior Cruise Collection in this royal setting commemorated the profound heritage of the Maison and the distinctive ties with the town of Chantilly. The stables themselves have been emblematic for French prestige, from the founding couturier’s first creations to those of his successors, Yves Saint Laurent and Marc Bohn. Throughout the years a variety of designers have carried or evoked the name as a symbol of French elegance and the art de vivre or the art of living.  Christian Dior’s second collection in 1947 featured an evening dress baptized in Chantilly to which he paid homage again, in his final collection presentation. 

Today, it is Maria Grazia Chiuri leading Dior with her message of women’s empowerment. As the rain poured from the sky the sanded equestrian arena was electrified with energy immersing guests into another epoch of Chiuri ’s progressive vision. The show opened with the ‘Escaramuza’- a Mexican sport composed of all women who compete in competitive shows called charreada. The riders perform at breakneck galloping speeds while riding sidesaddle and dressing for a competition can take up to more than two hours. The costumes are based on uniforms worn during the revolution encompassing strict guidelines to ensure formality and uniqueness: dresses must be cotton or cotton-based, always in traditional colours, embroidered details must be sewn by hand, and more. Inspired by women warriors the sport is fierce yet, sophisticated and notably aligned with the energetic force of Chiuri, for Dior. As the ribboned maypole trembled in the breeze, the downpour only added to the intensity as out marched the women, championing the elements.

The catwalk which boarded the sandpit came alive with creations celebrating chantilly which was present throughout the collection from voluminous skirts to exuberantly dancing upon ruffles and subtle inlays. The infamous Toile de Jouy was also present, modernized on structured jackets while cloud like tulle bounced upon stern combat boots, nipped waists and smart slim ties fell upon crips shirts and fitted silhouettes. Bar jackets and a dress from the 1948 couture collection was revitalized as wide-brimmed hats created by milliner Stephen Jones were worn by models. The iconic kidney-shaped saddle bag infamous and synonymous with the equestrian theme and a vintage must have, re-appeared in monogrammed versions.

The theatrics of this Dior Cruise show was profound and invigorating, as Maria Grazia Chiuri inspired and fortified her message for females worldwide.