Fashion's fanciest front row-ers descended on Musée Vivant du Cheval in Chantilly, France (just outside Paris) this weekend for Dior's 2019 cruise show. Designer Maria Grazia Chiuri's Mexican rodeo collection took inspiration from the Escaramuzas — "Mexican female riders who practice an art traditionally reserved for men while asserting their femininity, wearing full skirts and imposing hats," as the show notes explained.
Celebrating fabulously dressed women taking on traditional roles typically performed by men is clearly keeping with the feminist message we've seen Grazia Chiuri explore in previous collections. However, one guest was apparently less than impressed with the equestrian theme. Paris Jackson — actress, model, and daughter of iconic singer Michael — reportedly stormed out of the show in the name of animal rights.
"It all proved too much for Jackson, who huffed out barefoot, having earlier asked two assistants to help her out of her high-heeled sandals," WWD reports. "Whether the issue was animal welfare, or simply an extreme aversion to rain, was not clear." Jackson is known for her support of animal rights causes, and before the show she told the reporter, "I love horses very much. I’m ecstatic," as she posed for photographers at the center of the enclosure. But as soon as the show commenced, Jackson made a swift and unexpected exit.
Whatever her verdict (Jackson has not addressed the situation, though she did post a photo to Instagram confirming that she "left early"), the latest Dior collection has been met with critical acclaim. Feminine elements including ruffled skirts, floral embroidery, bucolic 'toile de Jouy' prints, and cinched waists were matched by harder, more utilitarian pieces — stomping boots, shirts with ties, stiff-peaked rodeo hats by Stephen Jones — and, of course, the logo motif so favored by Grazia Chiuri. But with the use of traditional Mexican styles and prints, questions about cultural appropriation must be asked — and they were, by Vogue's Suzy Menkes.
"I had this discussion with [her millennial daughter] Rachele about cultural appropriation," the designer said, with Menkes relaying Grazia Chiuri's explanation of "her belief that there were physical links between southern countries, seeing in her travels to Mexico and Peru similar apparel traditions to those of her native Puglia in southern Italy and also with the South of France" — a reasoning that's likely to satisfy few of Rachele's fellow millennials. Traditional Mexican motifs aside, the collection delivered the best of what Grazia Chiuri has to offer — with a slight twist.