It’s funny how designers engage in their own kinds of dialogue. Marc Jacobs was channeling the Last Days of the leisure class at Marienbad then we find the flipside at Galliano’s Dior, who channels the surrealist musings of Cocteau and late artistic impulses of Picasso that provide an excellent response to the revelations about class, desire and damnation in the 1961 cinema classic.
But thoughtfulness aside.
For those of you who forget EXACTLY what couture means (i.e. just because it’s expensive doesn’t make it couture, ahem) I refer you back to my little reminder: Policing Haute Couture. But after putting aside the technicalities, I was stunned when I saw WWD’s scrumptious coverage of John Galliano’s show at Versailles. Couples with the 60 year anniversay of the legendary design house Christian Dior and with the reopening of the famed Hall of Mirrors (lovely irony, no?) it dazzled with a nod towards the masked ball– Picasso’s Harlequins, Cocteau’s surrealist masks and exaggerations– all with a smile and a wink. — Joanne Molina, Senior Editor
VERSAILLES — John Galliano gave new meaning to the
term artsy with a breathtaking Christian Dior fall couture collection
inspired by painters, illustrators and photographers. Picasso’s
harlequins, for instance, sparked this romantic diamond-motif pantsuit,
replete with a ruff and sweeping hat. It was shown at Versailles on
Monday, where a lavish fete to celebrate the house’s 60th anniversary
also took place.
John Galliano doesn’t cotton to being trumped
by another’s grandeur — not even the Sun King’s. So it was inevitable
that, for Christian Dior’s double anniversary bash — celebrating the
house’s 60th birthday and, perhaps even more significant to Galliano,
his own 10th year at its artistic helm — he would stage an
extraordinary event, one dazzling enough to stand up to its backdrop,
Versailles, the very name of which pulses with beauty, opulence and
Though royal life at Versailles did not
end well, anyone who attended the Dior show on Monday night can attest
that, in fashion at least, the exquisite lavishness it stood for is
alive and breathtaking. Galliano’s Bal des Artistes proved an epic
spectacle that riffed on the masked-ball motif, while providing a giddy
feast for devotees of anything-goes haute and a big royal "take that"
to those who have ever doubted the designer in any way. This was an
especially emotional show for Galliano, his first since the sudden
death in April of Steven Robinson, head of the Dior and Galliano
Studios, to whom the collection was dedicated. "He was friend, family.
There’s a very big hole," Galliano said the day before his show. "But I
have a guiding star up there. I’m feeling him."
more than wowed his thousand guests with every move, including the
Surrealist improvements he made to the endless L’Orangerie corridor
where he installed his runway — it takes beaucoup moxie du mode to plop
Cocteau-esque animalia masks on baroque statuary. There was his musical
fusion of string quartet, gospel and flamenco, and a post-show party on
the grounds that wisely featured not a sit-down dinner but myriad
tents, some with food stations and others, sumptuous seating
arrangements done up with plush upholstered faux Louis this-and-that.
Most importantly, the clothes were magnificent. No, they weren’t for
any real-life end use, at least not this side of crazed billionaire
weddings or the Met Costume Institute gala; (as with ready-to-wear, the
"commercial" collection is back in the atelier). These gems wouldn’t
even suit a major-release period costume drama; they’d break the most
indulgent film budget.
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