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



.

Christian Dior’s Tulip Couture

Godfrey Deeny
July 05th, 2010 @ 5:56 PM - Paris

One thing that folks in Paris always insist gives haute couture a certain validity is that its ideas and inventions eventually translate into real fashion trends, which millions of women end up wearing without ever realizing from where the initial thought came.

If that’s true, and a decade or two attending French couture seasons would suggest it is, then after seeing the latest haute couture collection by Christian Dior, staged Monday, July 5 in the Rodin Museum in Paris, one can predict that women will soon be donning hyper floral fabrics in bulb-like shapes, while the overriding message of their look will say that fantasy is back in fashion.

Dior’s couturier, John Galliano, could rightly claim backstage that this fall 2010 collection referenced the ideas and obsessions of its founder. Christian Dior was a highly successful gardener in his own right, as a visit to his family home in Granville, Normandy, attests. But in this show, Galliano took those roots and replanted them in wilder, psychedelic soil, where they sprouted phantasmagorical flowers.

That much was true from the opening looks – a violet mohair coat with lapels in fabric petals, full flounce skirts in puckered chiffon flowers and dresses in shards of silk like dried out leaves. Not that the color scheme was faded. It was anything but. Iris blue, camellia pinks, blood oranges or chrysanthemum yellows dazzled before the eyes, their hues highlighted by the setting. In a cunning move, the show-space walls were transparent, so the backdrop was the verdant green of the museum’s charming garden.

“The structures were floral and organic. People forget how important plants, flowers and gardens were in the life of Monsieur Dior. They also don’t know that I’m more of a country boy than I seem,” smiled Galliano, attired in an Edwardian fops get-up of high stiff collar, black tie and gray jacket with piping.

Galliano has been spending more and more time in his own farmhouse, a remote building in the Auvergne, the rocky region in the central France.

“It’s so remote, I have to run up a hill for five minutes just to get phone reception. Which has its pluses, even if it makes me feel like Kate Bush,” joked Galliano, in reference that English singer’s hit song, “Running Up That Hill.”

Throughout, the technical dexterity was striking, from petal hems and floral cuts that heightened the exotic mood of layered skirts to a series of fabulous tulip prints where the petals were three feet wide. This was very much a collection where the garden had run wild in a balmy spring.

“It’s great to have a blast of fantasy back in fashion. And Galliano sure knows how to provide that with great energy,” said actress Jessica Alba, attired in a pink Dior floral print décolleté dress, her shoulders splattered with gold dust. Which was just how this clever collection looked, too.

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