This year’s crop of cruise collections serendipitously took place in the country synonymous with style: France, mais oui! First stop, the City of Lights itself, where Christian Dior hosted a welcome dinner at a classic art nouveau bistro in the heart of Montmartre that had been rechristened Chez Dior and completely outfitted with new signage, menus, napkins and plates. The following evening’s Dior show took place in the lovely hamlet of Chantilly, famous for its lace and stables, both of which were used to perfection. Titled Diorodeo, the runway saw the import of the Escaramuzas of Mexico. Designer Maria Grazia Chiuri took inspiration from the all-female team of rodeo riders, formed in the 1950s, and the show opened with a stunning choreographed “dance” of rider and horse that was poetic and thrilling.
Next stop, Cannes, where Louis Vuitton held a no-holds-barred experience for its lucky guests. Set at the Fondation Maeght, a private art foundation in Saint-Paul de Vence, the show welcomed patrons to the gardens dotted with works by Alberto Giacometti and Marc Chagall. Celebrities such as Jennifer Connelly, Ruth Negga, Emma Stone and Justin Theroux took in the outdoor show, which had models gliding among the Joan Miró sculptures. It was the perfect blend of designer Nicolas Ghesquière’s vision of reimagined artist colonies and his homage to the truly eccentric. The bohemian spirit lasted long into the night, as guests were driven to the infamous Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc to dance and, perhaps, take a dip in the pool, which had been branded for the evening with the famous LV logo.
On to Arles for Gucci. Here, designer Alessandro Michele may have found the most perfect marriage of talent, vision and location. Alyscamps, one of the most well-known Roman necropolises in the world, served as an apropos backdrop for a collection inspired by death and rock ’n’ roll. With a runway lit by Gothic candelabras and a strip of fire, the collection was as haunting as it was memorable. Of all the cruise collections, Gucci scored with the best kept secret. At the afterparty, none other than Elton John stepped onstage to serenade Michele, turning a generally jaded fashion crowd into screaming fans.