May 12, 2017
Diorchella? That’s the name some guests and the Twitterverse gave Dior’s Cruise 2018 show, which was held last night at the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve in California’s Santa Monica Mountains.
Maybe it was the bonfire, or the tents, or the celebs and influencers, or the bohemian garb designer Maria Grazia Chiuri presented, but there was certainly an Indio vibe to this outing.
To be fair, Chiuri, who reportedly didn’t have a lot of say in the location—a show in L.A. had been decided upon before she was appointed creative director last year— pulled from the house’s history when designing this South West-tinged collection. Christian Dior first visited California in 1947 and saw it as a paradise, something Chiuri indeed attempted to conjure. And the prints—primitive images of various beings and beasts—were reproductions of the Lascaux cave drawings that Dior referenced in his Spring 1951 collection.
But while Mr. Dior used these drawings as an inspiration, Chiuri’s take was very literal, pasting them across hats, ponchos, full dresses, and beyond in a way that didn’t feel genuine. In fact, the way in which these images were employed felt like something one might see at Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, or some such store ahead of festival season.
But it wasn’t just the prints that were too literal. The fringe, the suede, the turquoise-embellished gaucho hats—it all leaned more toward Disney than Dior. And sure, seeing as the show location was predetermined, Chiuri likely felt a need to tie the collection to the incredible setting. But a more abstract take on the Western, of-the-earth theme would have perhaps been more successful.
That flat shoes and sneaker-boots felt young and cool, but Chiuri’s continued affinity for those sheer, embroidered dresses and Dior-branded briefs is becoming too expected. As the designer has noted in so many interviews, the rich history of Dior offers so much to pull from, so why stick with the same style—one we saw time and time again during Chiuri’s Valentino tenure—over and over?
At the end of the day, the clothes from Dior will always be pretty—exquisite, even. The brand has an expert atelier and a designer with a blockbuster resume. But we look to houses like Dior to push things forward, to sell a dream that doesn’t already exist—or, at least, reinvent one that does. In that respect, this offering fell flat, particularly because there didn’t seem to be a great deal of honesty, emotion, or longevity behind these on-the-nose trendy wares.