As the big league fashion houses clamour to outdo one another other with the most jaw-dropping Cruise show venues, London is calling.
Tomorrow, Gucci will show at Westminster Abbey, best known as a royal wedding venue. Will Alessandro Michele close his show with a bride in clouds of Princess Di-style taffeta ruffles, perhaps with a sequined pink Gucci snake embroidered on the bodice? We hope so.
In the meantime, the pomp and ceremony has already begun. Dior convinced the rulers of the realm to hand over Blenheim Palace to show its Cruise 17 collection last night.
Home to the 12th Duke of Marlborough (Winston Churchill’s grandson Randolph), the palace was built in the 18th century by the first Duke when Queen Anne gifted him a land and cash to thank him for beating the French on the battlefield.
Perhaps not surprisingly the Dior press release does not mention the war, rather, notes: “The conversation between France and England echoes a dialogue between the past and the present, creative exchanges between the two countries. In the 18th century, France adopted English fashions in a craze dubbed Anglomania; in the 20th, the exchange reversed, and French fashions were exported for fevered consumption in Great Britain, none more so than Christian Dior’s New Look.”
Indeed, the house brought its famous nipped waists and full skirts to this very same spot in 1954, when Dior’s winter couture collection was paraded at Bleheim in the presence of Princess Margaret and Mr Dior himself, in aid of charity the Red Cross.
“Monsieur Dior frequently turned to the UK for inspiration,” says the house. “His own suits were tailored on Savile Row, and he used the masculinity of fabrics like English wools, Scottish tweeds and Prince of Wales check to underscore the femininity of his creations.”
The current designers, led by Lucie Meier and Serge Ruffieux since Raf Simons’ departure in October, drew on classic Brit tweeds, debutante velvets and “hunting pink” for this collection. Mr Dior would have approved. Actually, he does – present tense – approve. Thanks to the wonders of technology, the iconic designer has returned from the grave to star in an Instagram video for the house. Titled A fitting with Mr Dior it shows the designer adjusting the hem on a coat from the new collection.
No word on whether he was aboard any of the helicopters hired to schlepp AA list from London out to Oxfordshire where Blenheim Palace is situated. The regular A list had to get the train.
Fancy your own royal occasion? Blehheim Palace takes bookings for weddings.