From the hunt to the boudoir: Galliano's libertines for Dior

PARIS, Sarah Shard - From the exhilaration of the hunt to the seduction of the boudoir, John Galliano's collection for autumn-winter for Christian Dior on Friday was inspired by 18th century libertines.
Picking up the theme of riding habits from his haute couture collection for summer, he built his show round cavalry coats and fitted hacking jackets over cropped jodphurs, with velvet riding hats or jockeys' flat caps.

A model presents a creation by John Galliano
A model presents a creation by John Galliano
He used lashings of supple leather in chocolate, burgundy and chestnut brown and soft suede, alongside classic English twills and tweeds, herring bone and Prince of Wales checks, so beloved of Mr. Dior.
There were also ample winter-warmer coats and casual belted jackets in charcoal and white mohair plaid and a chunky cream off-the-shoulder knit.
Set in juxtaposition to the strong masculine tailoring were romantic evening gowns and cocktail frocks, all ruffles, draped low backs and wispy fichu necklines, in dusky pastels like apricot and old rose, spangled with silver embroidery.
Their feminine fragility was heightened by the default footwear of suede or leather thigh boots, which could be glimpsed through the sheer silk chiffon swishy skirts.
In an unexpected twist he constructed one of his cocktail frocks from fluttering tiers of punched leather.
The thrust of the collection was encapsulated by the opening number, worn by Dior's model of the moment, Karlie Kloss, a voluminous chocolate leather cape over a delicate pale pink printed silk dress.
Mathematics and fashion would seem to be worlds apart, but not so, says Dai Fujiwara, who based his entire collection for Issey Miyake on a theory by French mathematician Henri Poincare, who died nearly 100 years ago.
Among the guests of honour was William Thurston of Cornell University who proved Poincare's conjecture that there are only eight geometric shapes in the universe, which are enough to create all three-dimensional forms.
Fujiwara put the theory into practice with multi-coloured ribbed knit scarves wound around the torso to form complicated tops, over black nylon shirred pants.
The structure of curvy jackets and waistcoats in black and white was accentuated by contrasting piping.
He played with volume with circular-cut cocoon coats in Harris tweed in burnt orange and fuschia, and puffy black quilted nylon coats with hems or collars twisted like rope as if into mathematical models.
Delicate dresses constructed from multi-layers of glazed ink black organdy with laser-cut stars twinkled like the night sky.
Mathematician Joel Lebowitz, 79, a winner of the Poincare prize from Rutgers University in Newark, New York, was delighted by the show: "It was lovely to see. It was abstract and mathematical."
Britain's eccentric grande dame of fashion Vivienne Westwood found inspiration for her "Prince Charming" collection in fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm and principle boys in pantomimes, traditionally always played by girls.
Her models all sported pencil moustaches on their upperlips along with red lipstick and some wore brightly coloured paper crowns and opaque blue tights.
But with strobe lighting and seats all on a level, only the front row will have had much of a view of the clothes, although accessories like a giant fake leopard tote bag and camouflage backpack and a white and tortoishell cat balanced on one shoulder stood out.
French designer Gaspard Yurkievich, who called his show "Wistful thinking" had a nostalgic, melancholic take on next winter, dominated by sombre shades of tobacco, moss and pine greens, spiced up with turmeric and orange.
His silhouette favoured jackets with leg'o'mutton sleeves and cropped pants or jodphurs - emerging as a strong shape for next season - unless they were bottom-skimming city shorts.
Central zips down the front or back, edged with ruffles, and flat bows added femininity.
For evening it was knotted and draped brown-gold lame accessoried with artful earrings like a single feather made from fox fur.

Saturday, March 6th 2010
Sarah Shard

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