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Raymond Chandler Dior

Godfrey Deeny
October 02nd, 2009 @ 3:02 PM - Paris

Hard-boiled fiction, mixed with German Expressionism and a dose of that favorite French femme fatale Arletty, most famous for her role in Marcel Carne's 1945 film "Les Enfants du paradis," or "Children of Paradise," were the wellsprings of a wickedly clever Spring 2010 collection by Christian Dior shown Friday afternoon, Oct. 2, in Paris.

Guns cracked, gangster molls screamed and police sirens wailed as the first models hit the catwalk of the Espace Ephemere, the custom-made show space in the Tuileries Gardens.

“I discovered this wonderful image of Lauren Bacall, a loyal Dior client, and Humphrey Bogart on an Avenue Montaigne terrace, and I took it from there,” said Dior’s creative director John Galliano, referring to the tree-lined French avenue that is also the location of Dior’s headquarters.

Galliano kicked off the action with a steamy trench coat, cut like a mini cocktail dress and made in a thoroughly chic gray lamé. This piece of tough guy’s arm candy was backed up by a naughty damsel in a micro trench paired with a see-through lace mini skirt. Talk about flaunting it while you got it!

“I wanted very femme fatale, a strong woman with a lot of independence, a heart breaker,” smiled Galliano, seconds after posing for photos with everyone from Bruce Willis and Rihanna.

Galliano kept things sizzling with some skimpy lace mini dresses paired with silvery platforms, the models made saucier with peek-a-boo pin-up girl hairstyles and rouge lipstick.

The stage was set, literally, by an impressive backdrop of a dank thirties garage, a St. Valentine’s Day massacre concoction of iron girders, chains and dry ice, courtesy of some natty work by show producer Alex de Betak.

As darkness fell and a chiaroscuro light engulfed the show, the designer sent out lots of bad girl boudoir looks, largely sheer negligee dresses with lacey trim and lots of suggestive finishes.

Galliano’s finale was composed in the sort of pinks and lime hues that one associates with late detective films, not the early black and white movies, based on the thrillers of Raymond Chandler, like “The Big Sleep.” Instead, Galliano went Technicolor with a series intriguingly constructed sheer columns that glistened on top and revealed a lot below. Think of it as dream-like chic.

There was nothing Paris-bound about this collection, which will find enthusiastic consumers everywhere from Beijing to Boston.

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