Friday, July 10, 2009
oh (haute) couture
Watching the couture shows is almost like going to an art gallery or a museum; you are appreciating a piece of art from a distance, mesmerized by the craftsmanship and thought process behind it and intimidated to touch it because it's so precious. Some couturiers focus more on the traditional techniques and workmanship, while others put more emphasis on the glam and wow factor that differentiates couture from RTW. Out of the few fashion houses who still honor this tradition today, Christian Dior's shows are always high-drama and extravagant and not usually my cup of tea, but this time John Galliano for once stole my heart away. The show brought back memories of when I visited the Christian Dior Museum and Garden in Granville, France a few years back during my study abroad program. That was my first physical encounter with vintage Dior and it completely altered my impression on the fashion house (which I often associated with reinterpretations of New Look blazers and saddle bags back then). The couture garments by Monsieur Dior himself from 1946-1956 were divine - utterly beyond words. Each gown was so intricately and beautifully made - it's got haute couture written all over. It was then that I also decided I would probably only love Dior's collections from that era, and nothing else.
And then I fell in love all over again. As style.com aptly puts it, "Galliano took this collection back to the salons on Avenue Montaigne to show almost in the way the clothes were traditionally presented to clients and the press in the 1950's." The courtyard background and the white flowers resembled the rose garden outside the Granville museum. The clothes had many 50's references - New Look silhouettes, crinolined skirts, and peplum jackets. But my favorite was the underpinnings - the garters, girdles, exposed slips, and petticoats. No lady back then (nor anyone today) would actually attend luncheon half-naked like that, but it sure would be cool if someone breaks the tradition now once and for all!
runway images: via style.com
garden images: all taken at the Rose Garden, also the Garden of Fragrances, at the Christian Dior Museum in Granville