Sunday, 31 January 2010

Hommage to Christian Dior: John Galliano couture show Paris 2010

photo © Larry Ewing

My love affair with John Galliano – only his genius, darling – is well known. Ten years ago I wrote a book with this most talented and modest man, and I am about to start working with him on a new one. In the time between the two, I have seen him grow to such a marvellous flowering that I truly can say that he is the fashion genius of the age, with a sense of beauty and a response to history second to none. And his couture show this season showed him at his very best.

Sensitive, as always, to women and the legacy of Christian Dior, which he treats with the utmost respect whilst never letting it subdue his own creativity, this season he added (as he frequently does) an extra dimension. This time it was in the form of the cutting techniques of Charles James, the eccentric, obsessive Anglo-American designer who came to his peak in the fifties and sixties. Notorious for quarrelling with his clients – all very rich American socialites – to such a degree that he often refused to let them take delivery of evening gowns they had sometimes waited years for, he was the perfectionist to end all perfectionists. In that he has much in common with John but, apart from the talent and integrity, no two men could be more different.

Galliano started his show with Edwardian equestriennes in sharply-cut riding jackets in hunting pink that looked severe at first glance but were softly tailored to the now traditional Galliano/Dior cut invented by Galliano several seasons ago and still being subtlely refined. They were worn with side-draped New Look skirts which the high street will make into fabulously sexy little minis. Then came the cocktail dresses, miraculously involving great rolls and swathes of fabric to make powerful shapes more sculptural than anything seen in Paris this season. And finally, the ballgowns, all of a beauty that we have come to expect from this man. The colours were amazing and the echoes of some of Dior's great gowns from the past presenetd an hommage to the great man so subtle that few in the audience (including sad little Tavi in the front row) would realise it. This was a show that confirmed that in John Galliano's hands questions as to the modern relevance of couture – I have asked them myself – are in themselves irrelevant. He continues to bestride the world like a colossus.

All photos © Larry Ewing


  1. Sounds like true love... and well deserved too.

  2. sad little Tavi - hahaa so funny/mean can't decide this made me laugh too much, also the kind of backstage images seem so magical almost nostalgic in a way regular runway pics for this show I've seen so far don't

  3. Your blog has become a daily must-read. There are so few within the fashion industry that write with such knowledge and gravitas.

    Your comments are spot on about Tavi too. I just cannot abide the fuss about her. Yes, I'm sure she loves fashion, but I'm not interested in reading the gushy musings of a teenager. Designers and magazines are making themselves look like fools for fawning all over her.

  4. Dior, Galliano, James, McDowell, all my most admired talents together, all in one glorious paragraph, WITH photos! How spoiling is that? How clever of Brown's to spot Galliano's potential with his graduate show. How stunningly he has fulfilled that promise over each and every collection. How well his clothes match with the legacy of Dior.
    I enjoyed today's Sunday times for yet more of Colin on Paris. I am delighted that the ill wind of the credit crunch has at least blown enough money in some directions to support the glory of couture.

  5. Wow! Beautiful! Perfect! The real deal! This reminds me of a blogger poking fun at the rest of the couture shows! I really like the sketches on this blog, especially that of John Galliano, Nobody has really drawn him that way!! Looks like another major John Galliano fan on the blogger horizon!!