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.

Dior Boards Marrakesh Express for Cruise Collection

Renata Espinosa
May 15th, 2007 @ 3:09 PM - New York

A master miner and appropriator of exotic locales, history and visual culture, fashion designer John Galliano always wears his references on his sleeve - make that his model's sleeves - so it wasn't hard to pinpoint the cornucopia of inspirations that translated into Dior Cruise 2008, his latest collection for the Parisian fashion house, which celebrates its 60th anniversary and Galliano's 10th anniversary with the label this year.

For the second year in a row, Dior imported the show to New York, staging it on Monday night in a raw space near the site where the Twin Towers once stood. The show began just as the sun was setting, casting a muddy pink glow over New Jersey, whose blazing horizon formed the backdrop for the luxury label's flashy resort offerings.

The sounds of "Marrakesh Express" opened the show - Crosby, Stills and Nash's 1969 ode to Moroccan hippie treks popular at that time - and Galliano sent out a seemingly endless parade of souk looks injected with some serious glamour a la Talitha Getty, Swinging London's unofficial poster child for North African boho-chic and perennial fashion muse, starting with Yves Saint Laurent in the late 1960s.

A lime green satin trapeze coat embroidered with paisley paired with matching Capri pants, oversized shocking pink sunbonnet and jeweled pearl choker and jeweled sandals set the tone for a collection that consisted of sumptuous fabrics in acid trip colors, gauzy dashiki-like gowns, animal prints, maxi coats, '50s and '60s-inspired plastic sunglasses and ostrich plumes. Swinging circle skirts, from mid-calf to mini, added a Liz Taylor element to the offerings.

Galliano employed a softer application of some of the origami pleating from his recent Spring/Summer '07 Couture collection, seen here in a pale pink gown of swirling rosettes. Flipped hair, beehive hairdos, glossy pouted lips and eyes precisely lined with black completed the late '60s romp.

However, there was something sadistic about his towering sculpted fetish heels with jeweled ankle straps - like a rich girl's shackles. One pair in particular, which can only be described as the footwear equivalent of oversized marbles balanced on steel toothpicks, threatened to immobilize the poor models who had to wear them. One girl took a few spills and finally had to be escorted off the runway by a sympathetic man seated in the front row to avert any further disaster.

But if Galliano doesn't seem to place a high priority on a woman's ability to walk of her own accord, judging by the throngs of female admirers - including Charlize Theron, Penelope Cruz, Dita Von Teese, Kylie Minogue and Anna Wintour – who offered their congratulations and air kisses backstage after the show, they don't seem to mind.

"I thought it was beautiful," said Dita Von Teese. "I have a hard time finding glamorous ways of dressing in the summer weather, and this was the way to do it. I loved the makeup, the jewelry, the shoes, the dresses – it was beautiful and sparkly and very inspiring."

Earlier this spring, the house of Dior suffered the loss of Steven Robinson, creative director and Galliano's right hand man. He passed away at the age of 38 and had been working on the Cruise collection at the time of his death.

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