Fashion Parties

Look Inside Dior’s High Jewelry Garden Party on the Shores of Lake Como

All jewelry Dior Fine Jewelry Les Jardins de la Couture. Makeup by Dior Beauty.

Just past 8 o’clock on a Saturday evening in early June, the slate-colored clouds suspended above Lake Como appeared heavy enough to plunge straight into the water. It was not the kind of weather you’d hope for on the day of a garden party, let alone one organized by one of the most historic houses in French fashion.


Despite the darkening skies, guests appeared unfazed as they leaped off glossy wooden Riva boats (their seats upholstered in Dior’s Toile de Jouy fabric for the occasion) onto the private dock of the 19th-century Villa Erba. Most were bedecked in Dior’s greatest hits: embroidered tulle dresses, floor-sweeping chiffon gowns, and finely tailored tuxedos. They were gathered for the debut of the house’s latest High Jewelry collection, and many had traveled from as far as Australia, China, and the United States to witness what promised to be its most extensive presentation yet.


In designing the collection, Creative Director of Fine Jewelry Victoire de Castellane drew from one of Christian Dior’s longtime sources of inspiration: the enduring magic of gardens. De Castellane’s team produced 170 unique pieces alongside three “secret watches” (their faces obscured by a jewel setting that slides outward to reveal the time), each one more extravagant than the next.


That night, the rain held off. After a welcome cocktail, guests were ushered inside for a candlelit dinner beneath Villa Erba’s frescoed ceilings before drifting back to the garden, espresso martinis in hand, to experience the collection in person. Once everyone seated themselves on the prim garden furniture that snaked across Villa Erba’s lakeside lawn, models in couture by Dior Creative Director Maria Grazia Chiuri—corseted, calf-length dresses embellished with floral embroidery and swinging skirts made from layers of silk, each designed in dialogue with the High Jewelry collection—made their way along the grassy runway.

They paused every few steps in their slow saunter down the path, allowing viewers to gaze at the immaculately set diamonds, tourmalines, and pink sapphires that adorned their wrists and décolletage. Beneath the beaming stage lights, the pieces glinted and glimmered like falling raindrops.


The delicate, nearly cartoon-like florals that clustered across collar bones almost resembled beaded friendship bracelets, an allusion that imbued the collection with a decidedly youthful feel. The night’s standout piece was an articulated choker set with tiny, bejeweled illustrations of cheery rainbows, beaming suns, bumblebees, and leafy trees that became known colloquially as the “emoji necklace.”

The festivities concluded with a second look at the collection followed by a three-course lunch on the nearby Villa d’Este’s manicured grounds the next day. The pieces, an homage to the playful and feminine, left an impression that lasted long after guests mounted their Riva boats to be whisked back across Como’s sparkling waters.