John Galliano is the Mad Genius of fashion and believe me, I mean that as a compliment. You have to be possessed by a bit of divine madness to put something like this on the runway:
But before you dismiss him as completely impractical and ridiculous, look at what that beautiful madness above from Haute Couture Fall 2006 had morphed into by the time Ready to Wear S/S 2007 came around:
That is a beautiful and wearable suit. Not madness at all.
Galliano's Haute Couture collections for Christian Dior are always some of my favorite fashion events of the year. They sum up everything I want couture to be - delirious visions of the far reaches of fashion possibility. Galliano does not flinch in the face of the impractical. He certainly doesn't compromise his vision, and for that I adore him.
Some people look at photos of clothes like these and say, "But where would I ever wear something like that? You know what the answer is? The answer is: "That's not really the point."
I marveled & swooned & ooh'd & ah'd over this collection, with its Cio-Cio-San meets the New Look riot of color and shape.
I can't stop imagining the sound these clothes must make -- that wonderful rustling noise that for most women from childhood onward has meant "special occasion." With every step, that tulle skirt would whisper, "Beautful! Beautiful!"
But, you say. Beautiful those things may be, but I live in the real world. I have to go to work/the grocery store/teachers' meetings at my kids' schools. I understand. So I prowled around a little this weekend to find some things that just might bring a little bit of Galliano's madness within reach. (Click on the photos to enlarge them.)
I'm showing you these close-ups so you can marvel at the amazing detail and construction of this dress, but note that the overall effect of it is very kimono-like, with a wrapped top and defined waist, which is an extremely flattering shape to most of us.
Try it in something like this easy little silk dress I found at Envie here in Austin. It's by Single Dress, and goes for $238. There's a tie in the back so you can cinch up the waist or not as you need to. A really great spring into summer dress -- you could put a t-shirt or even a collared white blouse underneath it.
I'm transfixed by this dress, I'm dying to see it in real life.
How did they do that? Is it really origami? How many layers is that?
Here we have the idea of a great, simple shape in a supremely useful neutral. (I, of course, would wear red shoes with this dress. I hope you will, too.) Great A-line skirt (as you come to know me better, you will learn that I am a rabid fan of the A-line, because it looks good on absolutely everyone).
Here's a close-up of the ribbon work detailing at the bottom -- so pretty. I love tone-on-tone texture details. This little beauty was at Fetish. It's Byron Lars for Beauty Mark, is all cotton with a hint of spandex, and retails for $374.
I'm a sucker for embroidery. So I really fell for this:
Modeled by the lovely and sweet Lorna at Adelante, this is a really terrific spring weight cotton coat. Great seaming for a great shape, and the detailing is to die for.
It's Chan Luu, and sells for $304.
So, take heart. You may not yet have the sort of life wherein you can swan about in ball gowns on a daily basis (note that I said "yet"), but there are still lots of easy ways to be beautiful, and maybe even a tiny bit divinely mad.
Photos: Style.com and Style Spy