Friday, June 7, 2024

Dior Cruise 2025 - Dressed To Kilt

What an array of emotions the skirl of the bagpipes can stir. For the uninitiated, "skirl" refers to that hauntingly beautiful, sometimes headache-inducing wail they produce. Bagpipes, with their mournful and wistful tones, are akin to Bjork in the realm of musical instruments: otherworldly and polarising. Maria Grazia Chiuri began and concluded her Dior resort show in the manicured splendour of Drummond Castle's gardens in Scotland with the evocative sound of bagpipes. As a Scot typically indifferent to their strains, I found myself unexpectedly and profoundly moved.

Chiuri's extraordinary collection undoubtedly evoked a myriad of emotions, intertwining Dior's rich heritage with Scotland's romantic, dramatic, and sometimes bloody history to stunning effect. Desire springs to mind, as this collection was quintessential Chiuri: garments rooted in realism yet transcending it. Her resort shows also provide a real-world glimpse into how women wear her designs, revealing a chic, effortless elegance in hourglass jackets, full skirts, and clumpy boots or beribboned slingbacks, regardless of age or physique.


The designer delved into Scotland's sartorial traditions. “Scotland holds significant influence in the fashion world,” she remarked during a preview. “I aimed to reinterpret it differently. While my generation associates it with punk, there's a rich narrative in the textiles themselves. In fashion, we often focus on shape, but textiles are pivotal—what you can do with them, and the transformations they enable.” Thus, Chiuri reimagined traditional elements—tartans, cashmeres, tweeds, and Argyles—crafting a collection inspired by the geopolitics of fabrics, Mary Stuart’s politically charged embroideries, and a nod to punk, exuding a defiant beauty and energy. Uncompromising, just as modern women must be.

¨Chiuri's extensive travel, expansive thinking, and meticulous research, guided by the writings of Scottish cultural historian Clare Hunter, highlight her quest for meaning in her work. “We often reduce fashion to brands,” she reflected. “But fashion is more than that.”¨ - Charles Daniel McDonald

Classic Dior bar jackets were reimagined in heathery plaid shawls. Corsets bore an armorial strength. Embroidered flowers adorned bodices. Evening dresses in black Jacobean velvet, with white lace encasing the neck and décolleté, were showstoppers. Gunmetal and gold lace, ruffled seams, leather chokers with pearls, quilted leather crossbody bags, and Chiuri’s signature boots completed the look. Collaborations with local designers and artisans, including Johnstons of Elgin for tweeds and cashmere, Esk Cashmere for knitwear, and Robert Mackie for ceremonial headwear, added depth. Chiuri even visited Harris tweed weavers in the Outer Hebrides, braving the November chill. She also partnered with Samantha McCoach of Le Kilt.

At its core, everything begins with Dior and its global legacy. Inspired by images from a postwar 1950s charity fashion show in Scotland, Chiuri was drawn not to its formality but to the candid shots of models mingling with locals. This clash of dream and reality is where the magic lies. This reflection on past shows likely influenced her thoughts on contemporary fashion. While her Scottish-themed resort show retained her signature realism, it was imbued with greater theatricality and flair than previous collections. Fashion’s three-dimensionality—literal and metaphorical—has never been more vital. This collection communicated profoundly, even resonating over the skirl of the bagpipes.

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