On 31st May, Dior staged its Cruise show at Blenheim Palace, London, with the likes of Alexa Chung, Kate Beckinsale and Elizabeth Olsen arriving via the Orient Express (or more aptly named the Diorient Express).
The first model — hair slicked back, eyelids and brows moodily darkened — stepped out on the runway in a heavily styled ensemble: a navy cotton jacket over a yellow jacquard peplum top over navy cotton crop-flare trousers, an oyster-shaped necklace chained high on the neck, a red bag dangling from her right hand, a scarf threaded through the blazer. Stronger looks followed, combining signature Dior silhouettes and tailoring with quintessentially English fabrics, which yielded some beautiful combinations: peplum blouses printed in country florals, a Bar jacket in sky-blue tweed, an ankle-length red floral dress with ruched sleeves and ruffled waist. Interspersed were Asian- and African-inspired prints, patterns and embroideries, chosen to reflect the “restless and wanderlust” that infected the English in the years following World War II.
With all the build-up, it was somewhat startling when the show ended. Lucie Meier and Serge Ruffieux, who have been appointed to lead the womenswear team until Simons’s successor is named, emerged to take their bow. The applause was warm, and well-deserved.