Galliano displays his Spanish roots on Dior's catwalk

By Susannah Frankel
Wednesday 02 October 2013 05:06

The bulls are running through the streets of Pamplona, which makes it more apposite still that John Galliano went back to his Spanish roots for his haute couture collection for Christian Dior shown in Paris yesterday.

Matador jackets in blood-red velvet, dripping with strings of jet beads and coin-dotted flamenco skirts in hot Mediterranean hues - scarlet and magenta, lemon and lime - more than paid lip-service to the designer's heritage.

But Galliano, being Galliano, things were rarely straightforward: mannish pinstripe woollen waistcoats worn over the top meant the reference was less literal than it perhaps at first seemed.

From flamenco, the designer moved on to the Folies Bergeres - elaborate corsetry, showgirl head-dresses and huge Cubist can-can skirts - throwing Bollywood, 1930s tea dresses and 1920s beaded flapper dresses into the mix just for good measure.

For all its vibrancy and fanatical eclecticism, this was a softer collection than has been seen on the Dior catwalk for some time - a return to a more feminine and sinuous style.

But the iconoclastic spirit was still in place. Which other designer would send an oversized blouson down the haute couture catwalk with RAGGA in red sequins down one billowing sleeve? Sportswear of the sort Miami's Cuban community might like to wear must equally be a couture first.

This was predominantly an eveningwear collection. Bias-cut, black silk embroidered shawl dresses, chiffon scattered with jewel-coloured flowers and the most delicate of barely there sheaths will no doubt grace many a red carpet before too long now.

Any daywear was cleverly hidden and hardly of the curvy daysuit variety most favoured by the monied couture client.

It would not be exaggerating to say that Galliano has, in the six years since he took to the helm of this grand status label, changed the nature of the couture forever.

Like it or not, haute couture as marketing tool and laboratory of ideas is here to stay. Galliano, more than any other designer, knows this well.

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