Wednesday, July 8, 2009

More Mad Genius!

Yippee! It's Couture Week -- Spring 09 is already upon us -- in Paris and it started off with a bang at the salons at Dior headquarters on the avenue Montaigne. Instead of the usual enormous show venue, Galliano presented his collection in a much more intimate environment.

Which was appropriate...

...given that a lot of the clothing was, well, intimates.

Inspired by photos of Dior and his models & seamstresses in the 1950's, the collection mingled the wild fantasia of Galliano's Dior with the images of half-dressed models preparing for presentations. Does that sound outlandish?

It was, a little.

But in the most wonderful way.

Stephen Jones did the hats, which were magnificent.

Some of the lingerie references, like the one above, were blatant, but if that was too much for you, how about this?

Just a hint of a slip in the most gorgeous, creamy silk with lace that probably cost my rent peeking out. Lovely.

I have a lot of slips, but none with this kind of quality. Suddenly I'm really feeling the lack.

Oh, that hat!!

Where on earth does a person wear such a thing?

Wherever it is, I want to be invited.

I'm not a big bustier/corset person ordinarily -- frankly, I don't have the bust to make it worthwhile. But this? Is so beautiful that this weekend is going to find me rifling through my favorite vintage stores looking for something along these lines to play with.

Look at all this beautiful hand work -- just stunning.

Not every look featured lingerie. Some of them were just plain old garden-variety heartstoppingly beautiful clothes.

There was a lot of super-saturated color, which I of course loved

along with the details you only find in couture.

Cathy Horyn talks about this dress in her review of the collection.

This is a deceptively simple dress, but as Ms. Horyn points out, it's all about that lapel. Look at it -- how it starts off as a traditional notched lapel and then somehow melts into a cowl. That is amazing.

I sew -- I've made a few notched collars in my time -- and I can't begin to imagine how that was done. Look also at the set of that sleeve, how it elongates the line of the arm. These are the things that make the difference in clothing, and these are the things we have almost completely lost thanks to mass production. Why do designer clothes cost more? Because of this. Yes, the Dior dress you buy at Saks is still going to be factory-produced, but not at the same scale as your average department or discount store garment. And before it got to the factory, more time was spent on these sorts of details -- the placement of a seam, the set of a sleeve, the angle of a collar. Those things take time, skill, and money, and there's no getting around it.

Plumcake and I are going to get together with a bottle of wine and hold hands and look at this collection and cry, I think. I do believe she & I could get into one mighty girlfight over this here dress. (I'd put your money on me -- I'm scrappy and not above fighting dirty, especially where couture is involved.)

A lot of the looks fell somewhere in between on the lingerie scale, using sheer fabrics to reveal just a little.

Yes, please...

This makes me want to run mad...

That blouse is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. Like I said, I'm not a big one for underwear as outerwear, it's just not usually my thing. But something about this positively intoxicates me. I love that it doesn't really shoot for "sexy" in the way we've come to think of it -- the overexposed bosom, the thigh-high slit. This is coquettish, a bit naughty, amusante. These clothes are a light-hearted afternoon tryst in a sun-filled pied-a-terre with the curtains open on French doors that overlook some grand Parisian boulevard. That kind of joyful, giddy sexy when you're laughing out loud and not in the least ashamed.

And what's completely insane? I'm looking at this thinking, "Hmmmmm... I have a couple of great jackets. Maybe I need to get some tap pants. I won't go the whole garter belt route, but maybe some opaque tights instead..."

But there you go. I'm seriously, insanely considering it. Like I said -- intoxicated.

But the best bit? The whipped cream on the sundae? The shoes. THE SHOES!!!!

Aaaaaiiieeeeeee!!!! LOOK AT THEM!

They have those tiny little rubber snap closures like you find on old-fashioned garters & girdles!! And that pink!! That perfect nude/ballet pink!!! What is prettier or more feminine than that? Oh, I cannot express how these shoes have shredded my sensibilities -- I'm going to start saving NOW for a pair of these.

So there you have it -- more of our boy Galliano's wizardry. I've read a few reviews and comments complaining that this is nothing groundbreaking, it's too retro, that Galliano is revisiting old territory. And no, it's not cutting-edge fashion. It's a glorious tribute to a beautiful tradition designed by a wonderful mad genius. Which is sure as hell good enough for me.

PS... (And remember how I told you Cathy Horyn's commentors could be long-winded & tedious? You must check this out. I mean -- what the what???)


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Bonjour Madame said...

This is total shock and awe....I absolutely love every one of the looks. It's perfection. And now I must have a moment of silence to absorb it all.

LL said...

I would do some fairly obscene things for that red dress. And that first skirt. And that pinky-nude dress. And the shoes.


Deja Pseu said...

Wow. Those are truly inspired. Like Toby said yesterday, Galliano has such a sense of history and reference. And yes, the collar on that red dress is real innovation. Wow.

Couture generally leaves me a little underwhelmed, but Galliano always knocks my socks off.

Marsi said...

Galliano is a mad genius. Everything in this collection is a perfect, glorious, delicious confection. And the details? Good grief, God really IS in the details, no?

I've seen a couple other wrapups/reviews of this collection, but yours was the best. Kudos!

Sian said...

There is nothing in this collection I don't want to own. Nothing.

Anonymous said...

Too retro? What-ev. Beautiful is beautiful, and Galliano's kind of gorgeousness is frickin' TIMELESS.

Thanks again, Style Spy, for a great review/wrap-up!

Karen G.

marjorie said...

hoo boy, cathy horyn's commenters! this guy!

>By the bee, I’d be interested in discussing Prousts’ unfinished autobiography ‘Jean Santeuil’ with Miss Frackowiak however, I’m assuming the books ulterior purpose as a newfound doorstop would leave both of us at loose ends.

i know that left ME at loose ends. unlike this post, which is so deliciously enthusiastic and unpretentious and a great primer for someone like me who doesn't really follow high fashion. you educate me! (love the shoes, love both red dresses, love the leop, love the dot-net blouse, love the intricacy of the beadwork.) THANK YOU, STYLE SPY!

Elaine said...

The clothes are gorgeous of course. (Do I need to say that? No, probably not.) The makeup is also beautiful. It always is for his shows but he really knocks it out of the park in this one.

Madame Suggia said...

Long post, so here goes...

First of all, many thanks for turning me onto Carolyn's blog...she's a great writer and it's a relief to find another fashion writer who can intellectualize clothing without disappearing up their own derriere (BTW, you're just as talented, Ms Style Spy). The comments on her blog can be a little random though...

And secondly, when I look at collections like this, I look at them through at least three 'eyes'.

So yes, Galliano is a genius. Barking mad of course, but a genius nonetheless.

And the construction and execution of these pieces is impeccable...and so it should be, given the finances and the artisans at M. Galliano's disposal.

But I also look at them and say, would I, could I wear these? And much as I love the looks as pure eye candy, I can't translate them into my life at all (and you should know that I'm not exactly a conventional dresser, even for everyday I like a more extreme look).

Mainly because the silhouettes are wrong wrong wrong for me, but also, I get a whiff of slightly desperate, over-the-hill Parisian Hooker. You know, sort of holding onto bygone glories, being the 'jeaune fille' coquette when really, you're 'une femme d'une certain age'.

It's just all a bit obvious, somehow, and I can't help feeling that John Galliano almost dialed it in. Really, he's got so much more to offer than this, beautiful as the collection is.

Finally...the red dress with the collar/cowl detail? Not difficult... check out Pattern Magic vols 1 & 2...shows you exactly how to do it, collar in one book, cowl in the other, blend together and voila. I've just done it in muslin, took me just over 1 hour, easy as pie, and looks gorgeous.

Toby Wollin said...

OOOOOOkay, there, M. Galliano!! This is the stuff of the veritable Parisienne, n'est ce pas? Frou frou deluxe! The hats, especially those with the feather wings, might have started as an homage to the Dior of the late 40s and early 50s, but the feather wings are strictly the period of 1890s through the First World War. After that, the stuffed birds disappear, the hats and the heads get smaller and neater, the torso becomes invisible under the more sack-like shapes that pre-date the flapper (or as the French referred to it, La Garconne)look. But, on the other hand, Dior's 'New Look' really was sort of a look back to that period as well - when corsets were the thing, when bosoms were exposed, when every woman needed to exude floral attibutes (complete with surgery to remove one or two ribs at the bottom of the cage so that she could achieve that long, corseted look). But, as usual, Galliano somehow makes this all work - it does not look 'costume-y' at all (certainly doesn't make ME think of "The Titanic") - just makes us all require a towel to wipe up the drool. Another thing you get from Galliano's work is - he really does give off this strong fragrance that he actually LIKES women and wants to take advantage of the attributes that women actually posess if they've gotten to eat a few decent meals in their time.

Bonjour Madame said...

I'm sorry to double post, but my word those shoes are so amazing.

Tellicherry said...

O. M. G. Every bit of it. The hats, the clothes, the shoes, the makeup. The most stunning collection I've seen in some time.

Claudia said...

Amazing. Truly amazing. Love all of it. Those shoes! And (unsurprisingly) I also love that bag we had a closeup of. If I hda to limit myself to just one item... I thik it would be the pink dress with the orange flower embroidery. Sigh.

Fortunately, I was able to recover from the dior-induced reverie by howling with laughter at that pretentious commenter on CH's blog. Hilarious!

Anonymous said...

hey stylespy, which collection is this? I'm looking at spring 09 John Galliano and this isn't it...I'd positively die to see the whole collection!

StyleSpy said...

Serial -- it's Spring 2009 Haute Couture, not Ready to Wear.

dana said...

Don't we mean spring 10? I can't believe it -- out of the noughties into the teens! And utterly, gloriously, unreal. Those models look like mannequins, so perfect.

Thumbelina Fashionista said...

Those shoes! *SIGH*

Christopher said...

Stunning. But on a practical level, while I think it's fine to be able to see a bit of stocking or suspender thorugh a sheer dress, it could be done a little more subtly than portrayed here by Galliano. Nonetheless, a great post-Madonna idea. The skirtless ones however are just going to ladder their stockings I'm afraid (that must be what skirts are for). The ladies will love some of these ideas though.

Duchesse said...

This is the ultimate; the leopard dress, incredible. Retro with bite and not a whiff of 'irony'. I hope this collection ends up in museums.

Neon Sprinkle said...

Brilliant review!
A lot of people weren't sadisfied with Dior's couture for fall 09/10 (it being 'too boring' or 'too toned down').

Although I do believe Dior's best couture was Spring/Summer 07. This couture has an old-school charm to it. So Christian Dior and very much modern/contemporary. At first I wasn't all that fond of it (it reminded me of Galliano's 2003/'I Love Lucy' gone wild show), but seeing as how it's DIOR, I think this couture WORKS.

And honestly, when the world economy is at it's worst and everyone's stressed out, why NOT go back to the basics? (when it comes to fashion in general at least).

In short, I loved your review!!