Cruise collections might be a bit baffling for most people, what with them originally designed for the sole purpose of catering for rich people who wanted to buy togs for their winter holiday on a ship (#niche), but Britain really got to know about them this week. With both Dior and Gucci showing their collections here, the fashion world was in Britain en masse, and boy did the rest of the industry make the most of it.
While a select few had already been to Cuba and Rio to watch Chanel and Louis Vuitton’s shows respectively, we had been waiting eagerly for this week so we could all properly join in. It kicked off on Tuesday with Dior's show at the majestic Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire.
‘On Tuesday we took a trip into the world of Dior,’ says InStyle’s editor Charlotte Moore. ‘It was like stepping into Narnia - first the new gleaming superstore (hello Dior picnic basket, pillowcases and shoes, bags galore) on Bond Street. Next we were whisked in Dior taxis to Victoria station while we waited on platform 2 along with Bianca Jagger, Alexa Chung and Juno Temple for the Dior Express to arrive (they renamed the Orient Express for the day). In our carriages it was champagne a go-go, with our own waiter and a three course meal as we trundled through the wet green fields. The carriage was alive with fashion chat - we met Juno and her mum who were both utterly fabulous. Arriving in Blenheim palace despite the pelting rain was ridiculously glamorous. Super hot men escorted every one of us up into the castle for more champagne and Instagram moments. Eva Herzegova taking selfies by the vintage Dior frocks was definitely one to remember. The show itself was held in a stupendously long room - two rows - but for once no one cared about their seat. We were all just amazed to be there. Then the show itself - 20 minutes is a fraction of the time we'd all spent in the world of Dior that day. It was worth waiting for but if I'm honest I'm not sure Tuesday 30th of May in Blenheim will be remembered for the clothes.’
After the show and some afternoon tea, everyone was whisked back to London for the after party at LuLu's in Mayfair where even more of the fashion crowd (and Team InStyle) joined in. It was there that we tasted the best canapé we'd ever eaten - duck parfait in a gingerbread sandwich - that is, until one we ate at a party the following evening was even better. But more on that later.
By Wednesday we were in full fashion week mode, so it was a real treat that Christopher Kane showed his first ever Cruise catwalk show and Erdem staged a presentation, too. As Cruise collections are in store for longer than any others - they hit between winter and spring in November - they are commercially really important for designers, so it's hardly surprising that Cruise shows are becoming more of a big deal. And of course with more shows come more parties; we hung out with Leandra Medine at her Man Repeller/Luidmila collaboration and Kate Moss for her Equipment collection at Chiltern Firehouse (which is where that other amazing canapé was consumed - and it was posh cheese on toast!).
The week culminated in Gucci’s show at Westminster Abbey on Thursday. Our ed Charlotte was blown away by the whole experience.
‘The global fashion crowd gathering at Westminster Abbey was super odd in itself. It was like arriving at an uber wedding. I think we all imagined we'd be seated along pews but the show actually took place around an ancient quadrant. The only decoration was deep green velvet cushions - each with a different cross-stitched design - mine was a brown tabby cat with flowers scattered around his head.
‘Instagram mania over - the show began to the bellowing sound of a choir (not live) singing 'Are You Going To Scarborough Fair' beautifully slowly. Even more than at previous shows, each model was totally unique; men, women, older models, younger. Their hair, makeup, the whole look - even the walk - was entirely different from one another. If it was an army it would be a troop of wonderful English eccentrics. And if there is one thing I am buying, it's the jeans; splattered bleached and totally cool.’
So there you have it. One very glamorous week from the comfort of our very own city.