Equestrian Couture

From left, Kasia Struss, John Galliano with Karlie Kloss and Chanel Iman

Spring-summer 2010 haute couture displays shot out of the gates on Monday with a whinnying equestrian themed collection at Dior. In the first heavyweight show of the season, Christian Dior designer John Galliano looked to the skilled horsewomen of the 19th century for his collection of nip-waisted jackets and flowing skirts.

Forget the “it” bag. Dior called on the chic women of the world to ditch their handbags for a truly useful accessory: the riding crop. The models, in skirt suits of fine red and grey wool, wearing veiled top hats and lace-up boots with towering heels, were all carrying whips.

Kylie Minogue, one of a gaggle of A-list guests at the show, was sure the accessory could come in handy. “I’m sure I could make a few moves with a riding crop,” the pint-sized pop star – dressed in a black-and-white check Dior dress – told The Associated Press.

Besides the equestrian garb – built on a variation of Dior’s iconic Bar jacket, with heavily draped peplums – the collection also included short cocktail dresses covered in outrageous embroidery and jewel-toned ball gowns that evoked the long, stately silhouette of a John Singer Sargent painting.

Galliano, who always appears in costume to take a final bow, strutted the catwalk in white jodhpurs, a velvet jacket with tails, boots with a considerable heel and the summer’s next big accessory – a swishing whip.

Critics love the collection, as they usually do. “There was one sensational dress on Chanel Iman, a cocktail of lace and tulle flowers, which rendered the U.K. model so beautiful you could just count the hearts being broken,” Godfrey Deeny wrote for Fashion Wire Daily, clearly getting a little carried away by the magic of couture.

Read more at The Cut Blog on nymag.com.

Rachel Zoe’s pick: Christian Dior Riding Boots

The powerhouse stylist says nothing reeks sophistication quite like a pair of luxurious riding boots. As such, she is constantly searching vintage boutiques and designer emporiums alike for that perfect equestrian set. The hunt is over this season, thanks to Christian Dior, who shows us how it is done with these refined leather beauties. They are the ones!

“Though riding boots got their start as purely practical footwear for jockeys, they have long been a huge player in the fashion world. This fall, they are more on-trend than ever before with countless designers interpreting the style—Rag & BoneBurberryAnn Demeulemeester…the list goes on. Today’s Christian Dior pair won me over because of their stacked heel and enameled buckles. A little obsessed. They will transition you from autumn to winter, while instantly revving up any outfit with a dash of casual cool. For a getup that is guaranteed to be posh, throw them on with stovepipe jeans or leggings, an oxford button-up and structural coat. Now, off to the races!” RZ

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