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Last we saw Maria Grazia Chirui's Dior was on the Spring 2018 runway with a collection which — coupled with its almost superfluous stream of navy — left something to be desired for some critics. (Cathy Horyn's review, in particular, still sticks with us.) Two months later, the international Cruise tour has kicked off with Chanel leading the charge in Paris. 

Dior's Cruise 2018 collection, which Chiuri presented on Thursday evening at the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve in Calabasas, Calif., came next, and with its proximity to Hollywood — Google clocks it at just 23.6 miles — it was a scene if only owing to the guest list. There was no shortage of very famous, very beautiful people in attendance, ranging from high-wattage mega-stars like Charlize Theron, Brie Larson, Rihanna and Solange to friends of the house like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Cleo Wade. But as has come to be the case with Cruise shows now — Louis Vuitton in Kyoto; Gucci in Florence — there was so much more to write home about than the population perched in front row.

This season, Chiuri was closely inspired by nature, telling The Hollywood Reporter's Booth Moore on Thursday that the collection includes references to Palaeolithic cave paintings, Georgia O'Keeffe and feminist shaman Vicki Noble. But this is nothing new: Chiuri's designs have long drawn influence from various aspects of Mother Earth, seen constantly throughout her time at Valentino. And the clothes did the theme justice, if at times literally so. 

This was perhaps best exemplified by Dior muse of-the-moment Ruth Bell, who opened the show in a black fringed tank gown which was embroidered with skeleton and snake detailing — very Gucci — and styled with an O'Keeffe-style wide-brimmed hat and clompy work boots. Vogue Runway's Nicole Phelps pointed out a series of T-shirts that came printed with Noble's tarot illustrations, and were also painted on the backs of leather moto jackets. And there was, of course, the set, which came complete with tents, industrial spotlights and even hot air balloons, all of which made for ideal, now-obligatory Instabait.

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If the future of Cruise collections is more in line with delightfully on-theme, near-campy presentations than the safer ready-to-wear shows, count us in — as long as the clothes are also impactful enough to speak for themselves, as with this Dior collection.

Homepage photo: Rich Fury/Getty Images

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