The show must go on.
Last summer, during the haute couture shows, I really felt it was the end of the tradition. Between the demise of Christian Lacroix, to Givenchy switching from a catwalk to a presentation; and finally the economic collapse, the relevancy of couture and the participation of deep-pocketed patrons seemed questionable. I vowed not to return. However, with John Galliano's scandalous firing from the esteemed Christian Dior, I was curious if the show could go on.
Arriving Saturday morning, I made a quick trip to the Puces to ask the dealers if shoppers were buying any Galliano-era designed Dior or avoiding it like the plague. After all, Galliano was ousted from Dior and his eponymous brand when a damaging video of the drunken couturier praising Hitler went viral. Currently in recovery and without a job, Galliano may be persona non grata, but his talent can never be questioned. His future collectibility is not on the rise, according to those in the know. After the flea market, I visited Galliano's boutique on Rue du Faubourg Saint Honore. In the many years it has been open, I never really saw people shopping in it. That changed with my arrival, as I purchased several men's pieces, including variations of the signature newspaper print in the forms of flip-flops, beach towels and even a jock-strap! I think they will be collectible.
Dior is traditionally the first major show to kick off couture week. A grey tent was erected in the garden of the beautiful Musee Rodin, where I took my D-list seat in the 4th and final row. I realized this was the first Dior show I had seen in quite some time, since I found Galliano's shows to be all spectacle with little reality. The times have changed, as from the first look, where models resembled Nagel paintings with their neon eyebrows courtesy of Pat McGrath with a touch of Bride of Frankenstein with major Orlando Pita 'fros, the clothes seemed totally wearable in their ode to 80s fashions and geometric New Wave embroidery and Stephen Jones hats. I was thinking "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," although Grace Jones blasted from the sound system. The show notes site inspiration from Frank Gehry, Jean-Michel Franck and Jean Dunand, but I also spotted some Andrew Logan amidst the architectural references. Bright colors, structured jackets, full pleated skirts; in other words, mad separates for people with mad money.
The second group I will call the "Rachel Zoe Story." A series of pleated caftans in coral, malachite and wood prints, these are just what the jet set will wear in the Bahamas or Bahrain. A Talitha Getty moment never fails to disappoint, and I am certain these caftans will be snatched up by many of the wealthy Arab clients who like the nightlife, since these are disco-friendly cover-ups. The models worked these caftans with their arms swinging down the runway.
The final looks were red carpet ready and cool-bride options. As Karlie Kloss struck her final dramatic pose with arched back and bent arm in her Pierrot-inspired pewter ball gown, we all wondered who would take the bow. To whoops and cheers from the crowd, Bill Gaytten took his second bow in as many weeks. He designed the well-received men's Galliano show two weeks ago and scored another triumph today for his Christian Dior Haute Couture debut, proving the show must go on.