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Paris Couture: Undressed Christian Dior

Godfrey Deeny
July 07th, 2009 @ 00:54 AM - Paris

It’s not perhaps the greatest compliment one can give John Galliano, but it’s a revealing one – models probably love to wear his creations on the runway more than any other designer, as they did with pride and passion in the Christian Dior haute couture show in Paris on Monday, July 6.

One could certainly see why they emoted mightily in this fall 2009 collection, seeing that the inspiration was photos of an earlier generation of models. Christian Dior’s creative director Galliano happened upon archive photos featuring Monsieur Dior with a group of his favorite models - Victoire, Noelle, Yolande and Lucky, when models only used single names - in various stages of undress.

“It’s cabine fever, not cabin fever,” joked Galliano in a pun on the French term for fitting room.

“We even discovered an image of Marlene Dietrich in a tuxedo with suspender straps attached to the bottom, the better to keep the jacket perfectly tight. Once I saw that, I was flying,” laughed Galliano, dressed in dark Brioni three-piece suit.

The result was a spectacular show staged in the upstairs salon of Dior’s classic headquarters on avenue Montaigne, where half the models appeared in tights with underwear, knickers, panties, straps or corsets in flesh tones or polkadots. Worn with a series of boleros, trench-dresses and reefer jackets, the overall look was sinfully racy.

Corsets appeared over kissing pink coats with dirndl hems, naughty kickers peeked through mesh tulle and organza dresses, silver satin bras topped diaphanous silk faille skirts. In hues of daffodil yellow, gardenia white, camellia pink and gerbera orange, the clothes were all finished with some remarkable crystal encrustations, and juiced up with exotic floral embroidery.

Galliano also enjoyed a great assist from hatter Stephen Jones, whose enormous bow-tie hats and even an ingenious sunflower meets red daisy boater added to the over-the-top joy of this show. Kicked on by a soundtrack by Jeremy Healey, the models pirouetted with charm through the dove gray salons, their hair beautifully styled by Orlando Pita in wacky micro curls.

Some might argue that this collection broke little new ground in terms of clothing, but the wit, pizzazz and technical flourish made this a fine fashion moment, and one, surely, that Monsieur Dior would have enjoyed too.

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