Dior’s Tartan Army Took Scotland – With A Twist

Scottish practicality met French panache at Drummond Castle.

Dior Cruise 2025

by Hattie Brett |
Published on

If Cruise shows are a lesson in reminding the world of the heritage of a luxury house, Dior would have got an A* for its return to Scotland. In 1955, Christian Dior presented 172 models at a charity fundraiser in the ballroom at Gleneagles hotel. Today’s creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, had been planning to recreate that show in situ, but the brand is now too big for the Gleneagles ballroom – quite literally. Instead, 550 Dior guests made their way to Drummond Castle – the 15th century home of 89-year-old peer Jane Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby, at least in the summer that is when the heating bill isn’t too high.

Alexa Chung
Alexa Chung ©Getty

Making their way through kilt-clad waiters holding baskets of Dior-branded blankets, talent from Hollywood and Hertfordshire including Jennifer Lawrence, Anya Taylor-Joy and Geri Halliwell, were wowed by the view of the castle’s famous Renaissance gardens. And not just because of the rare Scottish sight of a blue, cloudless sky. With both French and Italian influences, the Rome-born Chiuri said Scotland’s finest gardens had served as the perfect backdrop to symbolise a ‘melting pot of cultures’.

Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence ©Getty

The location may have been different to that of Monsieur Dior, but Dior’s Scottish roots were very much present as the models criss-crossed through the topiary and lavender. As has become her tradition, Chiuri had spent the last year visiting local crafts people, to collaborate with them on pieces for the show; backstage, she said it was about ‘opening your mind to new techniques.’ In the blustery Outer Hebrides, she’d found a tartan check in the Harris Tweed archives and worked with them to recreate it in a yellow and purple check that reminded her of the gorse and heather you see across the ‘cinematic’ Scottish landscape. Meanwhile, a partnership with Le Kilt – an independent business started by Samantha McCoach, whose grandmother had taught her to master the art of pleating – resulted in a series of kilts that are set to become this collection’s cult items. Some were printed with photographs of Christian Dior tweaking his 50’s Gleneagles ballgowns and uninvited guests in kilts peering through the windows – archive images that had also been printed onto a monochrome, floor-sweeping coat and Dior Book Tote.

Lily Collins
Lily Collins ©Getty

In other sections, the nods to the past were more figurative. True to form, Chiuri, the designer whose We Should All Be Feminist T-shirts still sell in droves, had found a fierce woman to centre this collection around. Queen of both France and Scotland, Mary Queen of Scots was an obvious muse. But it was the way she’d used needlework to tell her story whilst in prison for 19 years that had really captivated Chiuri. ‘She was so conscious about how she used clothes and embroidery as a way to use her voice,’ Chiuri said backstage of studying the motifs Mary Queen of Scots had sewn. The ginger cat and mouse – to represent the relationship she had with her cousin Queen Elizabeth I, who ordered her execution – was replicated on white, lace dresses, so delicate they looked like they’d been rescued from the royal archives. Elsewhere there were chainmail-looking dresses and body plates like armour, as well as velvet trimmed with pearls or a ruff collar. One corset also featuring ruff embroidery had a powerful message. 'Fierce, Moody, Emotional, Difficult, Nag, Hysterical, Feisty, Bossy,’ were stitched in red - all words traditionally used to denigrate women. A message about Mary Queen of Scots, perhaps. Or, indeed all of us watching.

Dior Cruise 2025
Dior Cruise 2025 ©Getty

The fierceness of the collection – a punk spirit, if you like, that’s become synonymous with kilts – was most keenly felt in the accessories. A host of Dior classic bags – the Saddle, Bobby and Lady Dior, were toughened up with silver studs and harness-like straps, embellished with insignia a Scottish baron might have collected across his lifetime. The shoes were all flat: either buckled ballets or knee-high boots louchely unzipped, perfect for stomping through the Scottish Highlands or the urban streets. Can’t wait until November, when they’ll be in store? Adopt the Dior styling tip now: argyle socks pulled high over the top. Scottish practicality, meets French panache…

Dior Cruise 2025
Dior Cruise 2025 ©Getty
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