Photographed by Sonny Vandevelde. Styled by Kenneth Goh
What began, as the name suggests, for rich tycoons escaping winter for the South of France, has evolved into one of fashion’s most extravagant events, reports Gerald Tan. From cosmopolitan London to sensual Cuba, designers brought us across continents for this year’s cruise season—with prints, bright colours and wondrous embroidery on fashion made for exotic escapes.
(From left) Sandra Schmidt, Wangy Xinyu, Dasha Dogusheva and Caroline Schurch lounging in beautiful Dior dresses in the decadent confines of Blenheim Palace
Wanderlust was one of the springboards from which Dior’s Lucie Meier and Serge Ruffieux spun a collection filled with emblems both traditional and new; familiar and foreign.
It made perfect sense, given how the origins of the cruise season are deeply rooted in the idea of travel. Once a small collection that pandered to the jet-set who needed five maillots, 10 silk caftans and 15 billowing dresses for sailing around the warmer seas, it has expanded into full-fleged fashion extravaganzas with major fashion houses upping their showmanship by staging bigger and more elaborate spectacles in different parts of the world.
Such was the case for Dior. The choice setting, after last season’s Le Palais Bulles on the French Riviera, was England’s Blenheim Palace. The significance for this historic location was two-pronged: Firstly, Blenheim Palace—the birthplace of Winston Churchill—is one of the many beacons of “Englishness” besides the Union Jack, making it the perfect setting for a collection touted as a creative “conversation between France and England.” In addition, the majestic castle and its picturesque grounds hark back to the storied history of the Maison, having been the setting for two of Dior’s past haute couture presentations—once under its eponymous founder and another under his protégé, Yves Saint Laurent.
In a nutshell, the collection was an exercise in English elegance seen through the lens of Dior’s timeless codes, modernised by ex-Creative Director Raf Simons and now further examined by the design duo and the studio. English tweeds and scenes of an idyllic English countryside life found their way onto jackets and dresses. Puff-sleeved dresses in plush velvets and rich silks further underscored the travel theme by mixing prints lifted from African and Asian cultures.
What you see in this spread is an edit of the best pieces from the collection, lensed by Sonny Vandevelde against the rich interiors of the Blenheim Palace. Styled by Harper’s BAZAAR’s Editor-in-Chief Kenneth Goh immediately after the show, the fashion speaks of an adventurous, worldly viewpoint; rich in vibrant silks, decorated brocades, cool shoes and hip bags. Hop along on the ride. The journey starts now.
Floren Van Barlingen, Mayowa Nicholas and Isabella Ridolfi have a tête-à-tête dressed in modern takes on Dior’s Bar jacket
OPPOSITE: Before the final walkthrough, Roos Abels shimmies in a silk dress
Donning a dress-over-trousers look, Caroline Schurch makes a speedy exit
OPPOSITE: Floren Van Barlingen, Sandra Schmidt and Caroline Schurch amidst flora and fauna in the collection’s equestrian-print dresses
Picture-perfect— Bella Hadid stands regal in an embellished dress and gilded heels
OPPOSITE: (From left) Mayowa Nicholas, Dasha Dogusheva, Floren Van Barlingen, Sandra Schmidt, Isabella Ridolfi and Caroline Schurch are the ultimate girl squad in co-ordinated printed ensembles
Vanessa Moody skips away in a roomy boyfriend blazer
OPPOSITE: (From left) Sandra Schmidt, Mayowa Nicholas, Dasha Dogusheva and Caroline Schurch in the chicest cover-ups for cruise
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Styling assistant: Emily Attrill
2016 is the year Brazil registered on the world’s radar again. There was the summer Olympics, which descended on Rio de Janeiro in a flurry of national flag colours and sporting excellence. And then there was Louis Vuitton, which brought its glorious cruise show to the sunny Brazilian city. “In Rio de Janeiro, what I saw most of all was movement and explosive energy that lives somewhere between modernism and tropicality,” said Nicolas Ghesquière, Artistic Director for womenswear. “I was fascinated by the constant duality between nature, urbanism and the pictorial explosion it creates.”
With the Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum—an otherworldly building by architect Oscar Niemeyer—as a backdrop, Ghesquière’s tribute to Brazilian culture was a riotous mesh of colours and fabrics that referenced the works of artists Hélio Oiticica and Aldemir Martins. Aerodynamic dresses in neoprene were slashed to reveal skin, while sporty parkas in a lightweight parachute material were cut to catch Ipanema’s sea breeze. Ghesquière’s time at Vuitton has enabled the fashion juggernaut to further assert its authority as premium leather goods makers: Bags and accessories raced across the catwalk in motocross hues and vibrant Tropicana prints, adding a dose of Parisian-inflected samba energy to the collection.
Clockwise from top: The sprawling grounds made for a majestic runway. Cut-outs gave the collection sex appeal, with bright colours punctuating the collection. The show’s finale took place against the setting sun
In 1928, a French landscape architect remodelled the Paseo del Prado, a tree-lined thoroughfare in Havana, Cuba, and installed bronze lion statues as finishing touches on the street. The majestic big cat is one of Coco Chanel’s favourite motifs (she being a Leo), thus establishing an unusual connection between the woman, the brand and the Cuban city. Karl Lagerfeld decided to pay homage to this exciting city by bringing some Chanel magic to Havana. A day (or two) of travel, plus endless flight connections later, the fashion jet-set witnessed an infectious, fun-filled fair. The show opened with a series of “masculine-feminine” creations: Jackets paired with cuffed pants or girlie frocks. Those segued into vintage t-shirts tucked into tweed skirts or denim jeans. The guayanera, a traditional Cuban shirt, was transformed into see-through blouses, military-inspired jackets or worn under diaphanous dresses. Vintage American cars, a hallmark of Havana, made it onto printed silk pyjamas and swishy silk skirts. All the while, a Panama hat or beret was never too far behind, atop models samba-ing in chaintrimmed slides, dancing like there was no tomorrow.
Clockwise from top: The finale saw models dancing down the Paseo del Prado. Skirts printed with vintage car motifs. A breezy dress for sunny days. A t-shirt that is set to be a collector’s item. Colours in the collection were inspired by the façades of Havana’s old town buildings. The collection’s fun vibes are captured in a drawstring bag. A tiered dress sits perfectly under a jacket
Staged in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey, Gucci’s cruise presentation was—as the industry has come to expect— quite the show. Guests sat on emerald green, braid-trimmed cushions bearing embroidered motifs featured in the collection. Alessandro Michele, Creative Director and self-professed Anglophile, drew inspiration from England’s vast history, as well as the myriad of Brit-youth subcultures. Armed with these, he spun the stuff of fashion gold, weaving a tapestry with tradition as its warp and rebellion, its weft. Sloane Rangers and tweed-clad matrons shared the runway with fast-living Mods and New Romantics. Punk reared its pretty shaved head with studded boots and romantic sweaters. Quirk entered the mainstream via tartan and lace, with Michele’s collection a moving tribute to fashion and the people who dare to dream.
Models backstage before the show
OPPOSITE: Michele clashed tartan and stripes to great effect