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Armani Conquers China, Chastises the Pope June 01st, 2012 @ 11:53 AM



.

Christian Dior Derby Day

Godfrey Deeny
January 25th, 2010 @ 10:31 AM - Paris

Tally ho Dior!

Equestrian chic was the big news in Christian Dior’s spring haute couture show Monday afternoon, Jan. 25, in Paris, where the house’s couturier John Galliano looked to fin de siecle ladies who hunted, rather than lunched.

Specifically, Galliano referenced the late 19th century women who inspired Charles James, the neo-classical American designer whose more extravagant shapes also inspired Monsieur Christian Dior himself when he developed the 1947 New Look show, one of the most influential collections ever made.

But, though Galliano began with four strictly cut riding jackets, with black velvet collars and flared waists, paired with pleated long skirts all the better for dressage on a side saddle, he soon segued into more opulent abstractions. The designer James, too, was famed for bending fabrics to his own will to develop fashionable three-dimensional sculptures.

With horses hooves beating in DJ Jeremy Healey’s funk melodrama soundtrack, beauties appeared in artfully rouched cotton pique dresses, whose curves suggested speed and daring. There was one sensational dress on Chanel Iman, a cocktail of lace and tulle flowers, which rendered the model so beautiful you could just count the hearts being broken.

On the catwalkers’ feet were some dominatrix, high-heel boots that will win legions of fans, and on their heads were the most refined of angled Derby Day hats.

Galliano also doesn’t get enough credit as a colorist, and his mixes of taupe, icy sapphire rose and champagne were as assured as any seen by Yves Saint Laurent, who in a straw poll of fashion critics would probably rank as the most famous color combiner of all. If there are any doubts, check out the raspberry tulle jacket worn over a racy purple silk skirt by sleepy eyed Russian model Vlada Roslyakova. The mix was flawless.

“I think women always look pretty sexy in riding gear," said pop singer Kylie Minoque after the show. "But what John did today was take it to another, more extravagant and beautiful level.”

As ever, Galliano shuffled the visual cards when it came to the styling. Though stimulated by estate owning grand dames, the models sported saucy white, nightclub singer make-up, green eye shadow and hair that stuck up like stalagmites, a la "Bride of Frankenstein."

“I wanted the influences behind Mr. Dior’s New Look… from Amazons and dressage to ball gowns,” explained Galliano. The Dior couturier took his bow in boots, jodhpurs, redingote and a wonderful top hat, flicking a whip against his outer thigh, as he strode through Dior’s Avenue Montaigne headquarters.

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