As fashion editors rush from one location to the other to be seated on the frow; front row of Cruise collections, most of us watch the unfolding of yet another-larger-than-fashion season. Let’s face it, Cruise collections are great, but they are short and not as significant as Fall and Spring. What these collections lack in importance they compensate for in freedom of expression and appreciation of the world beyond fashion. Over the years, fashion brands, particularly Dior, Chanel and Louis Vuitton have used Cruise to reflect a deeper ethos, creating grandiose fashion shows. The venue and setup something of a spectacle, redefining the brand’s attitude and direction.
Karl Lagerfeld kick-started the Cruise show marathon with a catwalk inspired by Ancient Greece. Not too satisfied with the actual ruins, he chose to re-create the historic atmosphere closer to home at the Grand Palais in Paris, taking his guests to a fantastical Greek odyssey. Previous Cruise collections have included Havana, Cuba last year, and even the UAE a few years back. An appreciation of cultures shines through as Chanel’s modus operandi for Cruise collections.
While Chanel has busied itself with cultures, Dior dug it’s heels into nature. Over the past few years Dior has staged its cruise collections around scenic British countryside in 2015, the fantastic structure that is Palais Bulles in the cliffside of Monaco in 2016, to an appreciation of the California desert this year.
The ‘Dior Sauvage’ themed event invited guests to a luxury campsite in the heartland of the Calabasas, California. Fitted with the finest tents, the personalized hot air balloons and camp fires told a tale of desert decadence that rivaled the most exotic Emirati retreat.
This was the first cruise collection for Dior’s creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri, the third in this position on less than 5 years, the fifth if you were to consider the short stints by Bill Gaytten in 2011 and the in-house duo Lucie Meier and Serge Ruffieux. The musical chairs hasn’t effected the direction of the Cruise shows, which is a clear reflection of the Dior brand, not necessarily the designer.
When asked about the location, Maria Gracia Chiuri actually admitted that the location had been determined before her arrival at Dior.
Anyone that has known Nicolas Ghesquiere will tell you that he doesn’t take orders from anyone. His tenure at Balenciaga and the highly success signature motorcycle bag a good example of this. He designed his first bag for the house in 2000, but it was quickly dismissed because it lacked structure and was too soft; the opposite of all the popular bags of the time. He created two prototypes and kept them at his studio. When models came in for fittings for an upcoming show, they all asked about the bag. Ghesquière managed to convince the corporates to allow him to make 25 more bags, and he gave them to some of the models, including Kate Moss, some editors, and some friends.
To this end, Nicolas Ghesquiere has also dictated the direction of the shows at LV since he started at the label in 2014. His love of architecture clearly reflected in the fashion shows of the house, particularly the Cruise collections. This year Louis Vuitton’s cruise collection is staged in the Miho Museum just outside Kyoto Japan. An elaborate structure in the middle of a Japanese forest. Past cruise collections have been shows at Niterói Contemporary Art Museum in Rio de Janeiro and the John Lautner-designed former Bob Hope house in Palm Springs.