Remember when the economy was really, really bad, and the couture shows had to try to find a way to modestly fit in? And how, for Christian Dior, this meant moving its show to the low-key maison Dior, where models sometimes didn't even get bottoms or tops to wear on the runway? Where Tavi's head bow seemed bigger than any of the gowns that were shown? Well, if you've been waiting to forget about all that, you can now: Yesterday's Dior Couture show, held in a giant tent behind the Musée Rodin in Paris, was "so big," Cathy Horyn writes for the Times, "you could have run three men’s shows simultaneously." Designer John Galliano cited illustrator René Gruau as his inspiration for the spring 2011 collection, which included dresses made with five layers of tulle, full-pleated skirts, jackets puffed to cloud-like proportions, and a few dresses with fabric draped from front to back that made the models somewhat resemble flying squirrels. Horyn calls the colors "magical," but says that Galliano has been more ambitious in the past.
But all the models were clothed, so wonderfully, extravagantly clothed, as they were in Dior's floral bonanza of last season. That show came off a gentler, equestrian-inspired couture show, and a couture show before that filled with underpants and bras. Gone — the whole spectacle seemed to say — are the days of teenagers' headpieces getting in the way of the audience's enjoyment of the clothes. Gone, perhaps, are the days of extravagance on the runway feeling more gauche than necessary. WWD enthused that the word clothes was "far too mundane" to describe what Galliano let loose on his stage yesterday.
As for Galliano — whose bow at the end of a show is just as much one of his looks as the models who walk before him — he put the bobby-pinned pigtails he's been wearing for some weeks away, and made his exit with a black Joan Jett 'do. The Telegraph's Hilary Alexander spoke with him backstage in a video that is truly captivating. In it, you can watch the models model on the runway (like, really model in the most active sense of the verb, as they do at couture shows). Also, see Karlie Kloss getting flames put on her eyes, paper on her brows, and white paint all over her lower legs. You know what we always say, if it were comfortable it wouldn't be couture.
And Now Couture [On the Runway/NYT]
Paris Haute Couture: Christian Dior spring/summer 2011 [Telegraph]
Christian Dior Spring Couture 2011 [WWD]