A Fashion Ferry, Sailors & Rihanna: Inside Dior's Cruise Show In New York

08 May 2014 by

Dior Cruise Resort 2014 Show

Dior Cruise 2014 [Catwalking]

Cruise shows are becoming a very big deal. This in-between-season is a huge retail winner, providing keen shoppers an array of early purchases with staying power. Buyers are buying heavily and it makes sense that fashion houses would be savvy enough to provide consumers and fashion insiders with something above and beyond the lookbooks of the past.

Creating buzz via bespoke experiences appears to be the way forward for the uber-brands, and so, more than just a show, this evening’s Dior Cruise presentation in New York was truly a spectacle. It was an awesome ride (via customised ferry!) and a veritable feast of everything wondrous and sacrosanct about this industry.

RIhanna Dior show

Rihanna arrives at the Dior show in NY [Getty]

That means a suitably starry and untouchable front row: Rihanna, Marion Cotillard, Leelee Sobieski, Maggie Gyllenhal and more, plus an awe-inspiring set-up and the kind of dreamy but wearable and achingly desirable clothes that catwalks, and anyone who is interested, yearn for.

With the French Maison decamping to The Big Apple, it'd be easy to assume the ultra-glossy Upper East Side would play host. Once upon a time, yes. Monsieur Christian Dior had a productive and career-enhancing relationship with the lofty echelons of this town, however, current creative director Raf Simons decreed that hipper-than-hip Brooklyn, the Navy Yard on the banks of the East River to be precise, was the right fit today.

Dior Cruise Resort 2014 Show

Dior Cruise 2014 [Catwalking]

‘I wanted no one to know quite where these women were coming from or where they were going, so that they seem to exist in a new place of change and possibility’ Raf had already stated in Dior’s spring/summer 2014 magazine, so the hub of coolness in this metropolitan city-to-beat-all-cities makes perfect sense.‘Whether it is uptown or downtown, East or West coast, there is always a strength and reality to how women dress here,’ says Raf. And besides, Uptown girls aren’t adverse to hitting up that part of town anymore.

Now to the clothes. The models stormed the runways in twos or threes, pack-like in their similar – but never too matchy – ensembles, like impeccably dressed best friends. This catwalk concept is one that Raf has used before, but looking at the dedicated clientele at this show, it’s easy to see why: just like the assorted A-list ladies, Dior’s many faithful customers come in all styles, some buying into the ultra-prettiness of his floral brocades and full ballgown skirts, others strictly tailored up in classic trouser suits and pointy courts. And almost 90 per cent of the crowd had studded their ears with the ‘Mise en Dior’ double-pearl earrings – meaning the designer has cracked that must-have entry-price-point buy, too.

Dior Cruise Resort 2014 Show

Dior Cruise 2014 [Catwalking]

The fast pace of the models – along with the carrying of briefcase-style bags, body-sculpting suiting, scarf-tied ankle-supportive booties, simple-but-effective jewellery and slicked back hair – matched up to the idea of a whirlwind lifestyle for a busy business girl: places to go, people to see. The modern clothes that enable a kind of New York-inspired gym-work-cocktail-dinner-repeat lifestyle need to be as glamorous as they are easy and breezy and this is where Raf ramped it up: silk scarf (or French carré) inspired handkerchief dresses floated elegantly around and away from the girls’ bodies, but never revealed too much.

Serious black tailoring (the designer is well known for his love of the tuxedo and the houses' signature Bar jacket) looked sharp enough for the boardroom, but sexy enough for a hot date. Spliced textures and sketched-out graphics showed Raf’s desire for ‘an element of playfulness in powerful looks’ and gave those suffering with print-fatigue a fresh way to do pattern. As for the famous earrings there are many more styles to choose from in dark metals and square stones, and when the line launches in November, don't expect those nuggets - or anything else - to hang on the store rails for long: go-getting girls don't let such wardrobe winners pass them by.

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