Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Happy 60th Birthday Dior!

Well, it isn't quite a birthday: after all, Christian Dior himself was born in 1905. However, this year marks the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the fashion house which bears his name. To celebrate this milestone, current designer John Galliano produced a 60th anniversary collection to remember during this season's Paris couture week. Held in the magnificent setting of L'Orangerie at Versailles, it certainly was an event to remember. Not only did the show reunite some of the most iconic models of the last couple of decades (Linda Evangelista, Shalom Harlow, Helena Christensen alongside the likes of Lily Cole and Doutzen Kroes)it served as a kind of visual memorial of the work of Christian Dior himself and of the late Steven Robinson, Galliano's right-hand man. However, as always, it was the clothes themselves that were the stars of the show. Following on from his triumphant Japanese inspired Spring collection, Galliano has once more produced a formidable, breath-taking display of his mastery of cut, tailoring and style.
This collection was seemingly inspired by both the signature "New Look" of early Dior and by the works of painters and other visual artists. Cinched waists and "Noir-ish" details (small hats, vertiginous heels, jet-black beading) abounded in reference to the former. The influence of the latter was present in the spectacular array of evening gowns. References to artists such as Renoir and Goya, and even Cecil Beaton, were obvious. However, there were also less direct allusions: a white dress whose front is wound into a slash of red, recalling a smear of pigment on the palette, combined with a hat in the shape of a palette. As with his previous couture collection, Galliano's strength here lies in his ability to transform inspirations which might seem easy to spot or well-known, into something new and unusual. Use of bold colour, unusual mixes of fabrics and adventurous surface details plays a huge part in this. For me, stand-out items include: this wonderful eggshell blue gown and jacket (below),

a form-fitting black dress and white evening coat with over-sized sleeves and graphic detailing

a wonderfully tailored, exquisitely detailed emerald green gown

and this killer outfit.

The stuff that dreams are made of!

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