Only one man on earth could possibly whip up a collection of fetish queens in Kabuki face paint, going crazy in multicolor Asian-slash-eighteenth-century clothes. Hello, John Galliano! Up to his canny method madness at Christian Dior yet again.
“It was hard-core romance! Sex robots!” was the sound bite Galliano delivered backstage to describe his ready-to-wear version of the conceptual mayhem he wreaked at Dior’s couture collection in January. Back then he’d just come back from a trip to China and Japan, scandalizing many critics with the extra-outsize scale of his box-shaped, 3-D cutting experiments and mind-blowing kaleidoscope of East-West references.
But now we see how it all trickles down to the level of wearable, wantable clothes. Take a pink, crystal-embroidered duchesse-satin coat, extravagantly ruffled with layers of organza, or a fragile chiffon dress patterned in mint, yellow and magentawho wouldn’t? Rubber leggings, cross-laced up the front, came with a peach-colored, gold-embroidered satin jacket, edged with a multilayer explosion of organza ruffles. A massive fur in three shades of lilac rode on a tiny, slinky minidress. The stripes and numbers of football jerseys got thrown onto wispy chiffon; the black-and-white fish prints from Chinese kites were dramatized into voluminous gowns. This was a collection studded with innumerable delicate, richly beautiful pieces.
Above all, the wearability factor is proven by Dior’s results. For those turned on by financials, the house just announced operating profits of $36 million for the last season. Meanwhile, Galliano fanatic Gwen Stefani displayed her own enthusiasm for the Dior bottom line. “Just how do I get my ass into that rubber skirt?” she wanted to know.