Dior 'Cruise' collection at Blenheim Palace on 31st May 2016
When the House of Dior launched its Cruise collection at Blenheim Palace on 31st May 2016, the show generated endless news coverage. The specially invited celebrity audience was transported from London to Long Hanborough on the Orient Express, then chauffeured by limousine to Blenheim Palace. The show began fashionably late, the models paraded through the State Rooms and – following many, many weeks of preparation - the whole thing was over in just 12 minutes!
Dior at the Palace in 1958
This was not Dior’s first visit to Blenheim Palace. Maison Dior first visited in November 1954 and then again in November 1958 when the 10th Duchess of Marlborough organised two sensational, fund-raising catwalk shows.
As President of the Oxford branch of the British Red Cross Society, the 10th Duchess welcomed the opportunity of raising funds for the cause which was so close to her heart whilst at the same time introducing relative newcomer Christian Dior, to the UK. Fourteen models, or mannequins as they were known, modeled outfits from Dior’s H-line collection during the show which lasted almost 2 hours.
This show, the first of its kind in a stately home, also received a great deal of press coverage – 60 members of the press had been invited to attend and the event was a huge success. The only person who remained disappointed by the afternoon, was Dior himself who, was heard complaining to the London Press agent who had handled the distribution of the tickets, that no French photographers had been invited.
Princess Margaret in 1958
Princess Margaret, a close family friend of the Marlboroughs and an existing patron of Maison Dior, was guest of honour and sat comfortably in the centre of the Long Library flanked by the Duke and Duchess, to watch the mannequins walk on the longest and most tiring parade they had ever undertaken. It was calculated that during the show, each of the mannequins walked three miles through the nine state rooms in which the dresses were being shown.
Tickets to the event were priced at 5 guineas each and with approximately 2000 guests at the first show, plus a raffle with a Dior creation as first prize, its financial success was assured. The Duchess was able to present the Red Cross with a cheque for £8,110. 8s 10d - the equivalent of over £200,000 today.
Dior at Blenheim Palace highlights from 2016 Cruise Collection by Blenheim PalaceBlenheim Palace
Highlights of the 2016 Dior Cruise Collection