Excuse me. Could someone please pinch me? I’d like to know if I’m dreaming or if the Christian Dior Haute Couture S/S 2011 show was actually real. To a vintage lover and artist such as myself, this show was beyond dreamy. Being the visual type of person that I am, I went straight for the photos, disregarding any sort of conceptual information surrounding the collection. I fawned over every outfit, envisioning each one making a debut on the streets of Paris.
It’s a good thing that I ultimately decided to read up on Mr. Galliano’s thought process behind these creations, as it made the collection seem even more brilliant than I initially suspected. I learned that Galliano was planning on becoming a fashion illustrator until fate dealt him a different hand–one that lead him straight to the house of Dior. This year, however, the designer paid homage to his fashion illustrator days, taking direct inspiration from the drawings of René Gruau, fashion illustrator extraordinaire. He was also the man in charge of depicting Dior’s infinitely famous New Look of the 40’s and 50’s, a collection that virtually skyrocketed Christian Dior to post-war fame.
Now, the New Look spirit lives on, even 64 years after its official debut; each outfit that came down the runway oozed with an air of femininity that was simultaneously both soft and strong. These ensembles accentuate a woman’s figure in all the right places, giving her an instant boost of confidence and of glamour. From fitted jackets and billowing skirts, netted hair pieces to jaw-dropping evening gowns, every silhouette is absolutely stunning.
Perhaps what makes this collection so extraordinary, though, are the fabric choices. Not only did Galliano want the models on the runway to be wearing clothing that paid tribute to the styles popularized in the 1940’s and 1950’s, but he wanted them to appear as if they had stepped directly out of Gruau’s drawing book–right down to the brush strokes and pencil marks. The dark to light shading (chiaroscuro), the spots of embroidery, the layering of fabrics, all had a part in achieving this illustrated look. I have no doubt in my mind that the great Monsieur Christian Dior would be more than pleased with what Mr. John Galliano brought to the runway this season.
–AMBER DANESE GRANDFIELD