Following on from Chanel and Louis Vuitton, who showed their Cruise collections in Seoul and LA respectively earlier this month, the fashion pack headed to the French Riviera yesterday (11 May) for the unveiling of Dior Cruise 2016.
The Dior show became one of the most hotly anticipated of the season after a last minute change of location from LA to France was announced due to the sudden availability of a 'special venue'. The venue turned out to be the incredible Le Palais Bulles (Bubble Palace) designed in the late 70s and 80s by Antii Lovag for Pierre Bernard.
Located on the Mediterranean coast at Théoule-sur-Mer, just outside Cannes, the original date of the show was also brought forward by two days so as not to clash with the opening of the Cannes Film Festival. The proximity of the show to the festival has also led to speculation that Dior pieces will be even more popular on the red carpet than usual this year.
Designed by Dior artistic director Raf Simons, the collection is said to be inspired by the colours, textures and light of the Côte d'Azur, along with the famous faces and stylish figures who have inhabited it. Earthy shades and traditional craftwork mingle with bright pastel hues and high-tech fabrics in an all-encompassing collection that spans everything from bathing suits to evening gowns.
"I wanted an idea of freedom, playfulness and individuality to come to the fore in this collection, especially in consideration of the Dior archive,” explains Raf Simons. “It is not a heavy concept; it is light and young and there is a literal lightening of this clothing to make it fresh. Much of the design architecture comes from Mr Dior’s manteaux, his coats. But the heavy fabric is stripped away, the scale is played with and elements of their style are ‘collaged’ into other forms and garments.”
As with all Cruise collections, the bright shades, patterns and range of designs suitable for every type of social occasion reference the collection's historical roots as slightly lower-priced, more wearable garments bought for summer holidays aboard yachts and cruise ships. While practically this may no longer be a necessity, the tradition and playful sensibility behind these collections remains.
In a bid to compete with Chanel's Seoul spectacle and Louis Vuitton's LA extravaganza, Dior gave its guests the real VIP treatment. Hosting them at the Hôtel Majestic Barrière Cannes, they arrived to find their rooms filled with fresh peonies, Dior beauty products, Dior So Real sunglasses and panama hats to protect them from the sun.
The fun didn't stop there, with guests partaking of a sumptuous al fresco lunch and petanque lessons given by suitably dapper instructors before the show began. Seated around the Palais Bulles' magnificent infinity pool, the clothes had to vie for attention with panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea.
With its glamorous setting and proximity to the Cannes Film Festival, the show did, of course, attract a suitably starry front row. Celebrities in attendance included long-time Dior fan Marion Cotillard, Zoe Kravitz, Dakota Fanning, Cressida Bonas and ex-Dior design, fashion legend and owner of Les Palais Bulles Pierre Cardin.
With the three big houses, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Dior, having shown their wares, the Cruise collections season will now move to London where MaxMara will stage a show on 20 May. This will then be followed by the recently announced London Pre-Collections fashion week in June.