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Dior Took Over Blenheim Palace For Star-Studded Show

Photo: Getty
On Saturday, the fashion jet set took their seats at the Niterói Contemporary Art Museum in Rio for the spectacular Louis Vuitton Cruise 2017 show and yesterday evening Dior got off to a slightly less sunny but no less spectacular start for their Cruise offering. The French fashion house set the collection against the Baroque backdrop of Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, one of England's grandest stately homes and the birthplace of Winston Churchill.

Unhindered by the dismal weather and torrential rain, Dior brought back the magnificence of earlier shows held at the same venue. In 1954, Christian Dior first unveiled a collection in Blenheim after his client, the tenth Duchess of Marlborough, invited him to stage a show at her residence. Then, a few years later, in 1958, a year after the designer's death, Dior's protégé, Yves Saint Laurent also put on a show in the famous palace.

Continuing on from the palatial theme of the Dior Resort show at Palais Bulles outside Cannes in May 2015, this year attendees hopped aboard the Diorient Express, departing from London Victoria. The grand train was replete with Dior porters, sumptuous decor – including Dior china – and a lavish lunch (which may have been necessary to soak up any hangovers from Monday night's pre-show party at the Lady Dior pop-up pub in Mayfair).
Photo: Getty
Yesterday's show coincides with the opening of a new Dior flagship in London, set across four floors and designed under the direction of architect Peter Marino, opening on New Bond Street on Friday. And that's not the only news from the Parisian house this week – just hours before the show they announced Bella Hadid as a new ambassador for Dior beauty. The young supermodel later hit the catwalk at Blenheim, making her Dior debut.

Like the AW16 collection, the Cruise line was designed by a studio team headed up by Serge Ruffieux and Lucie Meier, but Dior’s lack of an official Creative Director, since Raf Simons' departure last October, did not significantly squash the magnitude and noise surrounding the show. Social media was alight with posts from the day, from the tour of the new superstore first thing on Tuesday morning, to the party at Loulou's that went on until the early hours of this morning.

But what about the show? And, more importantly, what about the collection itself?
Befitting of an English palace, the pieces centred on quintessentially British garms, inspired by "not only the post-war high society's wardrobes, but also the restlessness and wanderlust that characterised the period: the urge to travel, to discover the new." Also influenced by national style icons like Edith Sitwell, there were cinched jackets, structured white shirts, equestrian scenes knitted into pictorial jacquards, cropped leather flares, country floral dresses, printed silk skirts and plenty of rustic tweed as stars including Alexa Chung, The Weeknd, Emma Roberts, Kiernan Shipka and Sai Bennett looked on from the front row.

Though the wearable collection introduced a slighter looser silhouette than we might expect from Dior, were the designs eclipsed by the grandeur and ceremony of the day? We think so. While we still wait to see who will succeed Simons (will it be Valentino's Maria Chiuri Grazia? Will it be Erdem Moralioglu?), though it's perhaps evident that houses cannot excel without a star designer, Dior still know how to put on a bloody good show.