Stand and deliver. Eighteenth century dandy highwaymen and louche libertines were the theme for the autumn/winter season of womenswear at Dior held at la Musée Rodin. Buckled platform boots laced all the way up to the knee and folded at the thigh. Little caped jackets kicked out from the breast with hats made by milliner Stephen Jones. Pendants on necklaces looked ready to hide keepsakes such as a portrait or lock of a lover’s hair. The Dior woman of John Galliano’s now finished epoch as artistic director is incredibly sexy, confident and enjoys playing with historical references. Are women ready to wear knickerbockers again? Only time will tell.
For the second half of the show, Galliano’s buccaneers were indoors and wearing ensembles fit for lounging in the salon and boudoir. There was a lot of baby doll frou-frou happening. To wear Galliano’s Dior is to step inside a movie that portrays the Romantic Era, the period also cherished by the architects of punk, Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren. Galliano has forever mixed and remixed this period of art, literature and poetry, his clothes all collectable, delectable and the boots and bags a work of art.
After the garments disappeared from the catwalk all of the Dior team, the seamstresses, pattern cutters and more from the design atelier came out to receive applause and recognition. Tears were shed onstage and in the audience. The hundreds upon hundreds of hours put into each Dior collection by scores of uniquely qualified staff and, by extension, all those who work in the factories of the French brand was acknowledged, reminding all that a whole industry and history of hard working employees shouldn’t be punished for one mans mistakes. “The king is gone,” proclaimed a sign held by a Galliano devotee outside the Dior show as people left. And so, this is how one historic chapter in a much longer story, begun by Monsieur Dior in 1946, drew to a close.
Soundtrack compiled by DJ Jeremy Healy