Galliano goes on red alert

 

The designer John Galliano can always be relied upon to dream up some of the catwalk's biggest and most beautiful dresses.

His latest collections for Dior, shown yesterday at the opening of Paris Haute Couture Week, was no exception.

Inspired by the illustrator René Gruau, who was close to Dior, Galliano said he was interested in the artist's elegant brush stroke and sophisticated play between light and shade.

That is not to say that this was a monochromatic affair. Far from it, as this voluminous scarlet silk evening coat, topped off by suitably sculptural headwear by milliner Stephen Jones, showed.

Our heroine's lipstick and gloves appear to be in precisely the same shade, a sweetly anachronistic touch, harking back to the days when women appeared entirely groomed and with outfits perfectly co-ordinated at all times.

But, haute couture being haute couture, only very few women are ever likely to own any. This is the jewel in the crown of French fashion, where every garment is hand-fitted, sewn and embroidered by the world's most accomplished craftsmen in ateliers that have changed little – in terms of process – for the past century and more.

Given the man hours that go into the creation of even the simplest of garments, such confections are far from accessibly priced. On this subject the houses remain tight-lipped, although it is widely acknowledged that a tailored jacket starts at around £10,000 and, for more elaborate pieces, a six-figure sum is not unusual.

So what's the point – apart from the opportunity to dress a handful of very privileged souls?

The preservation of a great Gallic tradition is at least part of the story and, with that, the jobs of the petites mains, as they are known, who staff the workshops, many of whom are descended from parents and grandparents who trained with the likes of Coco Chanel and Dior himself.

Haute couture also functions as a laboratory of ideas, allowing principles of proportion, colour and cut to evolve. It is the perfume of a house, as opposed to the less potent eau de toilette: the very essence of a brand. It may be extreme but that's just as it should be. And looks inevitably filter down to the ready-to-wear runway and the high street before long.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Data Engineer

    £35000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Data Engineer is required to ...

    Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

    £26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

    Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

    £24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

    Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

    £22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence