Dior stages cruise show: anyone for a post-lockdown corset?

Business as usual – almost – as models walk through Lecce Cathedral in Italy’s Apulia region

In the latest sign of fashion’s determination to return to normality, Dior staged the first “cruise show” of the coronavirus era on Wednesday night, in Puglia, Italy.

It was almost business as usual as models walked, 2 metres apart, through the grounds of Lecce’s cathedral. The shimmering set, by artist Marinella Senatore, was inspired by the local luminarie tradition of illuminations, with neon motivational phrases, such as “We rise by lifting others” embedded within twinkling coloured lights. The clothes were definitely not the kind most of us have been wearing in lockdown: caramel leather corsets and long, flowing skirts. It was difficult not to see a touch of Florence Nightingale in the models’ white headscarves.

Notably absent, however, were the hundreds of buyers and press who usually attend such events, most of whom instead watched from home, on their computers.

Cruise – or resort wear – shows have become a hot-button issue in the fashion industry. Traditionally, they involve hundreds of guests being flown to spectacular locations, and take place in addition to the usual spring/summer and autumn/winter fashion calendar. Some brands, Armani and Gucci among them, have announced plans to use the enforced pause of Covid to slow down and return to a model of twice-a-year shows, for reasons of both sustainability and creativity.

A model presents a creation for Dior in Lecce.
A model presents a creation for Dior in Lecce. Photograph: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

Dior’s creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, was keen to make the economic case, in a video interview, for reorganising the show, which had originally been planned for May. “So many people depend on our work. It’s a collective project that involves many people and I found a great sense of sisterhood and brotherhood among these people,” she said. She added that Puglia was “my father’s homeland” and the collection promoted its crafts and traditions, with locals performing the pizzica folk dance around models, and fabrics from a local weaving studio used to recreate the famous Dior Bar jacket.

Pietro Beccari, Dior’s chairman and chief executive, added that going ahead with the show was “not an easy decision” but evoked the spirit of the house’s founder, Christian Dior, who famously created his “New Look”, just after the second world war. “There is huge emotion tonight because everyone gave the last drop of energy in a difficult situation, here in Puglia and all over France and Italy, to help us pull together the collection,” he said.

Contributor

Hannah Marriott Fashion editor

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Dior offers pure escapism with fairytale haute couture show
Designer Maria Grazia Chiuri moved from her label debut’s feminist T-shirts into a fantasy world that heralded a bold new attitude

Jess Cartner-Morley

23, Jan, 2017 @6:41 PM

Article image
Major Paris exhibition celebrates 70 years of Dior fashions
Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams also shows off the work of his successors such as Alexander McQueen, John Galliano and Maria Grazia Chiuri

Hannah Marriott Fashion editor

03, Jul, 2017 @6:02 PM

Article image
Fashion returns to catwalks as Dior takes over Athens ancient stadium
Maison’s Cruise collection at Panathenaic stadium includes pieces inspired by contemporary Greece

Jess Cartner-Morley

18, Jun, 2021 @2:56 PM

Article image
Christian Dior in Paris: big-top showcase of technique and daring
Chiuri continues to show there is more to Dior than the full-skirted ‘new look’

Jess Cartner-Morley

21, Jan, 2019 @6:30 PM

Article image
Raf Simons tipped as likely successor to John Galliano at Christian Dior
Belgian designer quits as creative director of Jil Sander, sending Milan fashion week into a frenzy of speculation

Jess Cartner-Morley

23, Feb, 2012 @6:34 PM

Article image
Paris show continues Dior's message of female empowerment
Second ready-to-wear collection by artistic director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, mixes workwear tropes with dreamy fluidity

Hannah Marriott

03, Mar, 2017 @6:07 PM

Article image
Dior designer wins fans by putting feminism above femininity
Maria Grazia Chiuri collects Légion d’honneur hours after her latest haute couture show

Jess Cartner-Morley in Paris

01, Jul, 2019 @5:08 PM

Article image
Maria Grazia Chiuri's Dior debut spells out her feminist message
Chiuri closed the door firmly on her Valentino era with a potent collection that showed Paris fashion week her range

Jess Cartner-Morley

30, Sep, 2016 @6:52 PM

Article image
Dior shows the suit is back, as tailoring outweighs sportswear
Kim Jones focuses on ‘architectural tailoring’ – even at a ready-to-wear show

Morwenna Ferrier in Paris

18, Jan, 2019 @8:58 PM

Article image
Fashion houses unveil plans for major shows behind closed doors
Dior cruise collection to be shown without an audience, while Burberry announces outdoor event

Jess Cartner-Morley

22, Jun, 2020 @4:55 PM