Dior Horses Around for Cruise 2019

Dior Horses Around for Cruise 2019

Maria Grazia Chiuri continues empowering (and being inspired by) women.

Maria Grazia Chiuri continues empowering (and being inspired by) women.

Text: MATHIAS ROSENZWEIG

Yesterday evening, a seemingly endless stream of black cars descended upon the fairytale town of Chantilly, roughly 25 miles north of Paris. Various contingents of the fashion industry ventured into the French countryside for Dior’s 2019 Cruise show, set to take place in the Stables of Domaine de Chantilly, which, on this particular night, were being drenched with rain. After roughly two hours of driving, guests left their cars and were escorted under umbrellas into the predominantly roofless venue. The crisp air was filled with both petrichor and a palpable sense of urgency as traffic and bad weather resulted in the show’s delayed start. By no fault of Dior, it was all rather melodramatic, but set the tone perfectly for an evening about both resistance and persistence.

A few minutes after 9:00pm, eight women riding white horses charged their way into the stable’s center. Dior’s Artistic Director Maria Grazia Chiuri had visited Mexico several times prior to designing her most recent collection and was greatly inspired by the country’s escaramuza. These are the women who compete in Mexico's national sport of charrería, which centers mostly around males. They galloped swiftly by one another while performing synchronized choreography, whipping in and out of different formations with unimaginable precision. Typically, these women wear garb inspired by the Adelitas or Soldaderas, female warriors who fought in the Mexican Revolution. The sombreros, which bounce animatedly around at the mercy of the horse’s movements, are held to the women’s heads with a thick leather strap. Traditionally, their dresses must be made of cotton, while their accessories are composed of sterling silver.

Chiuri has said that her fascination with the escaramuza has to do with their excellence in the male-dominated realm of rodeo paired with an appreciation for femininity. It can take up to two hours for them to get fully dressed, a process that’s punctuated with a few sprays of perfume before riding. Their custom, black and white Dior dresses and command over the horses captivated the audience—all but an inexplicably barefoot Paris Jackson, who stormed away from the show more or less as soon as it began. Regardless, the theatrical kickoff foreshadowed the remainder of the night; it would be a continuation of the strong feminist messaging that’s now synonymous with Chiuri’s collections.

Models began circling the stable in riding boots and sneakers that easily combatted the challenging weather. Assuming that footwear wasn’t a “Plan B,” it was a textbook example of the Midas touch. The women trudged through the rain sporting dresses similar to those of the escaramuza but lighter and more accessible. Voluminous skirts of layered, cloud-like toile were paired with fitted white button-downs, backless leather vests, and a reoccurring black cravat. Various equestrian looks, which seemed to merge aesthetics between Mexico and European cultures, boasted of sportiness and rigidity. Thick, exaggerated leather belts cinched several models at the waist, nodding to Christian Dior’s iconic New Look (and figure).

Ultimately, the show combined inspiration for social change with both fashion and sports, resulting in a triumphant display. Typically, these escaramuza only perform at competitions as sideshows for the men. Here, they were front and center, seemingly as undisturbed by a patriarchy as they were the rain. I can’t help but note how this particular event fell on the day that Harvey Weinstein turned himself in to the police, giving the world tangible strides forward in the name of feminism. As for the show, they’re just clothes, of course. But something about the evening made the future look really damn good.

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