“Each of the women presented [in this volume] is one and multiple, both herself and many others, some illustrious and some less well known to us, but all of whom resemble her in some way.”
Dior’s Artistic Director Maria Grazia Chiuri chose the noble setting of the Domaine de Chantilly for the Cruise 2019 collection. A prestigious symbol of the French art of living, the grandiose stables were built in the 18th Century by architect Jean Aubert. The choice of Chantilly marks a return to the house’s roots, as Christian Dior designed an evening dress inspired by the town of Chantilly for his second ever collection, for Fall/Winter 1947-1948.
The Cruise 2019 collection is inspired by the female riders, called escaramuzas, that compete in Mexico’s version of rodeo.
With their embellished sombreros and embroidered cotton dresses, which flare out into tiered skirts layered with petticoats, the riders cut dashing figures as they perform stunts at full gallop, all the while riding sidesaddle.
“The reason I like the escaramuzas is because they do something that is so macho — rodeo — in our vision, but they decided to do that in their traditional dresses which are so pretty, so feminine,” she said during a fitting at Dior’s ready-to-wear workshop in Paris.
The designs also hark back to Chantilly’s rich history of lacemaking. Chiuri used the delicate fabric, whether in graphic inlays or frothy ruffles, on full-skirted looks worn with chunky belts and her updated take on combat boots: a heavy-soled rubber and Neoprene lace-up design dubbed Diorcamp.
She gathered acres of tulle into featherlight petticoats, while sheer mesh skirts were delicately embroidered with lattice or Toile de Jouy motifs. The latter fabric, traditionally used for interiors, is something of a house signature, appearing in vintage creations such as a pair of shoes designed by Roger Vivier in 1956.
“Toile de Jouy is a very traditional Dior element. I decided to change the print. I put some animals to give it a twist, just a little bit ‘sauvage,’ less traditional,” said Chiuri. The pattern, featuring tigers and serpents, is woven through silk dresses or printed on more casual items like a trenchcoat or a denim shirt.
“You don’t necessarily have to buy a beautiful embroidered evening dress, you can also buy something more simple, like a pullover, with the same element,” she said. “You can find something that is really democratic, like denim, with a code that is really Dior, but that maintains this kind of couture culture.”