WOODSTOCK, UNITED KINGDOM • Dior staged a catwalk show of its Cruise designs at the majestic Blenheim Palace in the Oxfordshire countryside on Tuesday, in a lavish event reflecting the growing importance of between-seasons collections.
Held at the 18th-century home, the birthplace of Britain's wartime prime minister Winston Churchill, the event was a nod to the past for the French design house, which held events there twice in the 1950s.
The brand's Swiss creative duo of designers, Lucie Meier and Serge Ruffieux, mixed references to classic Dior designs and eccentric English influences. Models including new face of Dior, Bella Hadid, strutted between the rows of gathered fashionistas in a pillared hall dressed in florals and demure jackets.
The styles mixed the modern and the conservative - one print represented a foxhunt - with a muted palette of beige, black and pastels. Bags with complex pockets and straps were worn tossed over the shoulder or carried in the right hand, while models sported ankle boots with chunky metallic heels.
"We were thinking of a Dior Parisienne who goes to London and becomes more eccentric," said Ruffieux, describing the designs as a natural evolution from the duo's last two collections since they stepped in after Raf Simons left in October.
Dior has just opened a new flagship store in London, one of the largest in Europe. It is keen to promote its cruise collection - a holiday or resort collection produced between the traditional spring/summer and autumn/ winter shows. Dior chief executive Sidney Toledano said: "These cruise collections have grown in importance in the public eye and are as creative as the other collections."
Major fashion houses have been competing to hold shows in ever more exotic locations. Chanel staged a catwalk show in Havana, Louis Vuitton in Rio de Janeiro, while Gucci will present its cruise collection in London's Westminster Abbey today.
Dior is due to present a haute couture collection in Paris next month as it seeks an official successor to take over from Simons, who resigned three years after the house took him on in 2012.