Christian Dior Haute Couture, fall 2010 collection.
John Galliano studied a parrot tulip flower for hours on end to examine how the light moved across the petals. This transpires to the couture pieces, with explicit tulip silhouettes and colour transitions that mirror the change of colour in the tulip across its petals.
The combination of bold colours with both billowing and structured silhouettes is incredibly exciting to look at. The profile of the models is astounding once you take into account their towering, two-tiered hairstyles that resemble the filament of a flower. My favourite pieces of the collection are paired with a bright, plastic film fascinator, which alters the models’ complexion to match the colour of the strikingly bright garments and further morph them into flower-girls. The fascinators were made by Stephen Jones to look like florists’ wrap, and the straw, raffia belts allude to this idea too.
Despite the fact that this collection was shown five years ago, it always comes to mind when I think of couture collections. This is undoubtedly due to the designs, not the spectacle. Alexander McQueen’s 1999 S/S collection, is remembered for the ballet dancer Shalom Harlow twirling on a turntable, whilst being spray-painted by two industrial robots; Louis Vuitton’s S/S 2012 collection for the decadent merry-go-round. In contrast, I remember this Christian Dior collection for the clothes.
The backdrop to Galliano’s catwalk show was simply a sculpture of an orange tulip. The particular flower which he studied for inspiration neatly rounds off the collection, without dramatics. The overruling wow factor of the show is how closely linked the designs are to the intricate details of the flower. Reminding us that some of the best inspirations for art and fashion are nature’s natural forms.
Images of the collection taken from ‘Dior Couture’, a hardback compilation of Dior Couture collections photographed by Patrick Demarchelier.