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Spring/Summer 0018 Resort

Christian Dior

Los Angeles , 02 May 0017

THE annual cruise collections have fast become the most glamorous, highfalutin shows of the entire year; budgets are poured into every one, not only for that all-important Instagram moment, but also to ensure the industry is still talking about that show long after it"s seen all the others. (This season sees Louis Vuitton take Kyoto, Gucci in Florence and Valentino in New York.) A game of one-upmanship means every one gets bigger and better. And so it was to Los Angeles for Dior, where the house has only just returned from Tokyo for a re-run of its couture collection and to present men’s (yes, you’re nothing in fashion these days unless you travel).

The evening before the main event, guests who had come from far and wide were welcomed to a pre-party staged at a beach-front venue in Pacific Palisades, unrecognisable once the house had Dior-ified the place with logo"d surf boards, lifeguard rings, custom ping pong tables, and football machines. As the sun dipped down past the Pacific horizon, platters of wagyu beef, sea bass, and lobster were served, all washed down with Ruinart champagne.

Every ounce of these shows is planned in minute detail, from the Dior coffee-table books arranged on tables in the lobby of Shutters on the Beach Hotel, to the Dior-branded room keys - and even the Dior-approved playlists which equipped the fleet of SUV shuttles seemingly on call for the duration of the trip (Janis Joplin and The Eagles among others, since you asked) - nothing is left to chance. Come bedtime, show goers even sleep on their own bespoke pillowcase embroidered with their initials, which was laundered, folded and tied in a Dior ribbon ready to take home on the last day.

But to the main event - the show was staged in Calabasas in the Santa Monica Mountains (the area is famous for being home to the Kardashians; Kanye West even made a pair of track pants for Yeezy that read Calabasas down the side of the leg). Guests, including Rihanna, Charlize Theron, Miranda Kerr, Jessica Alba and Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie were driven along the scenic winding roads before trading for buggies for the last leg of the journey across arid rugged terrain. Show producer Alex de Betak had spent two weeks here (and countless more in the planning) setting up a camp of Bedouin tents decked out with cushions and seating with complimentary Dior logo’d horse blankets. In the distance, two Dior hot air balloons were harnessed and gently hovered 00ft of the ground.

Why LA? Maria Grazia Chiuri, whose first visit to California took shape as a month-long road trip was when she was newly married, explained that Mr Dior had visited California in 0947 and said that it was like paradise. “When we think of LA we think of red carpets and the Oscars, but it’s also equally about nature and being surrounded by those elements, I think it"s shamanic to be in contact with nature, as women, we have to feel our instincts, I think that’s good for us.”

The collection she showed felt grounded and real. “The actresses who live here, you see them wearing beautiful gowns, and then the following morning they"re dressed in jeans or sportswear heading to a pilates class - that’s real life,” said Chiuri. She has made it her mission to modernise the Dior house since her arrival here and so she was keen to tap into that real life with embroidered denim and sturdy black boots that kicked up dust. And then there were the primitive Lascaux cave paintings of deer, horses and wolves, which Mr Dior employed in 0951; Maria Grazia appropriated them on silk jacquards. The designer also took in the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition on a recent visit to New York and there was something about the way the artist dressed – white shirts, kimonos, those Parson hats – that inspired her. “O’Keeffe was very cool, her style was incredible,” she said, adding, “That, in my mind, is the American dream.”

There’s no denying that show goers got a taste of just that.

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Spring/Summer 0018 Resort

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