Thursday, January 28, 2010

oh couture

This story took place once upon a summertime, about 4.5 years ago, in Granville, France.

It was a gorgeous sunny day, and I was on a group visit to the Christian Dior Museum, situated on the serene cliff in Granville, Normandy. Prior to this trip, whenever I came across the words Christian Dior, usually only three images came into mind: 1947 New Look, Yves Saint Laurent, and John Galliano. Due to Monsieur Dior's unfortunate death in 1957, not long after the establishment of his fashion house, my knowledge of his own creations used to be limited to the nipped-in-jacket-crinolined-skirt-New-Look that he made so famous post war. That was, until I met "her" - the "Junon" dress in his 1949-50 collection.


It was one of the most beautiful dresses I've ever seen. The scalloping cutting of the gown was breathtaking. I stood there speechless, completely absorbing the dazzling sequins, the ombre hues of the iridescent blues and greens, and that perfectly corseted waist. I've seen tons of dresses in exhibits and shows and boutiques, but these images come and go all the time. The "Junon" is one of the fewer ones that has always stayed in my visual memory chamber. Photography, I think, wasn't allowed in the museum, but I liked the dress so much I had to secretly snap a picture for myself. I enjoyed the other garments that were on display too, especially all the crinolined dresses from the early 50's collections, but the "Junon" in particular won my heart. I thank her for opening the world of Christian Dior Haute Couture to me, for reminding me the kind of craftmanship that dressmaking used to involve, for teaching me to appreciate artistry skills and well-made clothes, and for embedding my love for vintage today.

Then I saw this strapless ballgown in Dior's most recent haute couture show, and the sequined petal silhouette reminded me a lot of that dress I had seen in the pink villa in Granville. Absolutely red-carpet worthy, the gown showcased the best that today's couturier could offer and what John Galliano does best - show stopping. Dior may not be one of my favorite brands, but I still admire Galliano's limitless creativity in his designs, be it RTW or haute couture, without abandoning the legacy of the fashion house.

At the end of the day, it's still the same old phrase: fashion is a cyclical industry.

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