Galliano makes elegant case for haute couture

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

John Galliano, the Christian Dior designer, kicked off the round of couture shows in Paris yesterday with an elegant visual argument for haute couture's place in the modern world.

Describing the house's autumn/winter collection as "couture in a contemporary way," his fresh, relatively restrained silhouettes, combined with a confidence among design house executives that couture is flourishing, dispelled any lingering notions that the made-to-measure art form is not viable in today's fast fashion era. "The demand for very high-end products continues to be very strong," Sidney Toledano, president of Christian Dior, told Women's Wear Daily, pointing to an increase in couture sales of more than 35 per cent last year and a "strong double-digit" growth so far this year. "Very rich people are not suffering from the crisis. The workshops have been very busy," he added.

Galliano always transforms and reinterprets his influences from bygone eras, but yesterday's collection wore them particularly lightly. The result was a collection with bite. Similarly, while last season's collection cited sources of inspiration such as Klimt and John Singer Sargent's portrait of Madame X, the ideas behind these clothes were less about recognisable themes, and more about aesthetics.

That's not to say that the show, staged in the smart grounds of the Rodin Museum, didn't include clear homages to some of the house of Christian Dior's signature shapes, details and colours; mainly from the 1950s. The waist was emphasised throughout, on structured wool jackets and full-skirted, silk, prom-style dresses, by the addition of black patent corseted belts with pannier-like inserts at the front, laced backs and a slightly fetishistic feel.

Galliano said of the collection: "There's a sexy new step in the salon." There was an undeniably sexy streak to chain mail shoes with silver heels like inverted Eiffel towers. If couture offers fairy-tale gowns, however, there was something here for both its good and deliciously wicked characters. The first half of the show featured a monochrome colour scheme, and black leather cloche hats studded with punky rivets by Stephen Jones, and a slightly 1980s belted leather jacket with blouson sleeves. An inky net ballgown studded with crystals, and boasting a train the size of a small bedroom, would be perfect for a wealthy, modern-day sorceress.

The fondant colours that came later – sugared almond pink, pistachio, cream and lilac, which appeared on tiered ballgowns would suit a princess. A soft grey, tiered chiffon balldress with a low back, came with a firm corset laced bodice to ensure the figure inside looked as perfectly formed as the Rodin statues in the museum – and almost as expensive.

In pictures: Paris haute couture collections

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
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: Glazier

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This specialist historic buildi...

    Recruitment Genius: Luxury Brand - Retail Sales Assistant - Part or Full Time

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Luxury Jeweller and Accessories - Retail Sale...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £13676.46 - £15864.28 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Re...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Designer

    £22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Designer is required to j...

    Day In a Page

    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

    Forget little green men

    Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
    UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

    39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

    There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
    Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

    Computerised cooking is coming

    From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
    Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

    Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

    The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
    Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

    Education: Football Beyond Borders

    Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
    10 best barbecue books

    Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

    We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
    Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most