Dior goes back to its roots

PARIS, Dominique Schroeder - First there were giggles and the sound of girls larking about, then the models emerged, some of them only half dressed, from a changing room.
For his haute couture show for Christian Dior for next autumn-winter on Monday, designer John Galliano sought to recreate the intimacy of the salon in the heyday of the house's founder.
Instead of staging the usual extravagant spectacle in some vast venue, the house put on two shows for press and buyers in its own chic premises in the Avenue Montaigne.

Dior goes back to its roots
Not at all because of budgetary constraints, the president of Christian Dior Couture, Sidney Toledano, insisted, but as a way of "returning to the roots of haute couture."
The collection, which gave pride of place to Dior's hallmark New Look full skirts and "bar" jackets cinched into wasp waists, is "all about the history of Dior", Toledano said.
The decision to show on home territory was all about "rediscovering the atmosphere of haute couture, which needs to get back to its roots and values."
In the current global downturn, which is not sparing the luxury sector, Toledano said it was time to play up the importance of "Dior, the brand and the savoir-faire" of its workrooms.
That "savoir-faire" was certainly in evidence in Galliano's reworking of the house's classics, even if the extreme elegance was given a deftly sexy touch, his models often nonchalantly forgetting their tops or bottoms to give a flash or corset or bra, or hose.
A fuchsia bar jacket picked out in embroidery was worn cheekily with just a fancy garter and a hat, while a violet overcoat was slipped over couture stockings and court shoes.
Galliano happily mixed outer-and-underwear, with laced-up black or flesh coloured corsets peeping out over bare backs, or worn outside a dress, and lacy edgings dipping below hemlines.
Actresses Marion Cotillard, Clotilde Courau and Nora Arnezeder were among the applauding celebrities.
French designer Stephane Rolland's collection, shown earlier Monday, had a three-dimensional feel, reflecting his passion for modern art, and paid tribute to sculptor Richard Serra and the fashionable architect and decorator Karim Rashid.
Geometric embroidered motifs - concentric circles and parallel lines - looked like piping or mazes in relief - and sprinklings of small stones, covered in his favourite fabric for next winter, cashmere, resembled mosaics.
Narrow cut black satin tuxedos with sharply accentuated shoulders had backs pleated like origami folds while slinky catsuits in pewter and silver bristled with spangles.
Dresses were tunics or long sinuous columns, with tulle skirts frothing out below the knee or mermaid trains trailing behind, often with plunging necklines at the back, veiled by sheer gazar.
Alongside black, pearl grey, camel and toffee dominated, while white graduated into caffelatte or ochre, which Rolland said was inspired by sunset in the desert.

Monday, July 6th 2009
Dominique Schroeder

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