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July 31 2014

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85 posts tagged "Christian Dior"

A Pretty Scandal: Revisiting the Fifties at the Palais Galliera

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Fifties dresses

Long before Olivier Saillard arrived to shake things up as director of the Palais Galliera, the fashion museum of the City of Paris had established a tradition of mounting exhibitions around a given decade, such as the twenties or thirties.

With The 50s: Fashion in France, 1947-1957, which opens on July 12, Saillard sought to honor that heritage and also remind the world that the fifties, at least in fashion terms, was a few years ahead of the Gregorian calendar. “It was really that revolutionary bomb of Christian Dior’s New Look in 1947 that brought the decade into the fifties,” Saillard commented during a preview. A decade later, Mr. Dior died suddenly and his young assistant, Yves Saint Laurent, moved to the helm. In between those bookends flourished what was arguably the last golden era of couture. “I like the idea of putting the couture heritage out there, because right now we’re seeing several young designers who are redeveloping it in their own way,” observed Saillard. “It’s also an era that’s joliment scandaleuse [prettily scandalous] as much at the beginning as the end.”

The Galliera’s considerable trove includes a lot of Dior. (Consider for a moment that by the mid-fifties, Dior alone accounted for 49 percent of French fashion’s total exports.) A Bar suit stands sentry at the entrance, followed swiftly by the rose pink Bonbon dress from Dior’s first collection and the asymmetrical peplumed Bernique (Winter ’50-’51), a recent discovery. But Saillard and his team bring to the fore other remarkable, iconic wares, including a 1954 Chanel suit (a look the Americans were quicker than the French to embrace, he noted, precisely because it was made to be worn from morning to cocktail hour). Elsewhere, a 1954 black Balenciaga suit that looks as though it could have stepped off the runway yesterday keeps company with pieces by Carven, Balmain, Fath, Givenchy, Cardin, Schiaparelli, and Saint Laurent, among others. All-but-unknowns get play, too, such as Jean Dessès, Grès, Henry a la Pensée, and Jacques Heim, a star of the time who costumed films such as Falbalas (known in English as Paris Frills).

“There’s a real feeling of destiny about this decade,” observed Saillard. “When you map out the stars, there are so many houses we still talk about. Givenchy, Saint Laurent, and Karl Lagerfeld were taking their first steps in fashion, and it’s also a time when future greats, such as Christian Lacroix and Jean Paul Gaultier, were born. So many names are anchored in that decade in one way or another, it’s very strange.”

The show’s staging resurrects old nuggets from fashion’s lexicon (day suit, day dress, late-afternoon dress, city dress, tea dress, travel coat, etc.), a reminder of how much things have changed. “Today it’s just a dress,” quipped Saillard, rattling off a few numbers that speak volumes, too: There were 106 couture houses in Paris in 1946, a number that had dwindled to thirty-six by 1958.

Given that there are more than a hundred pieces displayed, highlights are too numerous to list here, but they include clever beachwear (a yellow popover by Hermès practically begs for re-edition), accessories, and evening dresses once worn by style icons: the Duchess of Windsor’s Palmyre dress by Dior (1952) is one of the museum’s most precious pieces. Nearby, the 1957 Opium dress from Dior’s last collection (Winter 1957) was donated by Best Dressed legend Jacqueline de Ribes, who will be the subject of her own exhibition at the Met next year.

The 50s: Fashion in France, 1947-1957 runs from July 12 to November 2 at Paris’ Palais Galliera

Photo: Courtesy Photo

And The CFDA Awards Go To…

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Joseph AltuzarraThree cheers for Joseph Altuzarra! The talent won Womenswear Designer of the Year, the top honor at the CFDA Awards, which just wrapped at Alice Tully Hall. Altuzarra, who secured an investment from Kering last year, had some stiff competition in fellow nominees Alexander Wang and Marc Jacobs, but we’d have to say the honor is much deserved. Public School’s Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow won Menswear Designer of the Year, beating out Thom Browne and Rag & Bone’s Marcus Wainwright and David Neville, and The Row’s Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen took the Accessories Designer of the Year accolade, triumphing over Alexander Wang and Proenza Schouler’s Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough.

The third time was a charm for Creatures of the Wind’s Shane Gabier and Christopher Peters, who won the Swarovski Award for Womenswear after being nominated in 2012 and 2013—bravo, boys! And to round things out, Tim Coppens and Irene Neuwirth earned the Swarovski Award for Menswear and Accessories respectively. The big winners were in good company, and shared the stage with such honorees as Tom Ford, Raf Simons, and a crystal-clad Rihanna. As host John Waters put it, “Fashion is power.” Tonight’s celebrated designers and icons certainly have a lot of it. Congratulations to this year’s victors and honorees, all of whom are listed below. Don’t forget to check out our complete coverage of the CFDA Awards, here.

WOMENSWEAR DESIGNER OF THE YEAR
Joseph Altuzarra for Altuzarra

MENSWEAR DESIGNER OF THE YEAR
Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow for Public School

ACCESSORIES DESIGNER OF THE YEAR
Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen for The Row

SWAROVSKI AWARD FOR WOMENSWEAR
Shane Gabier and Christopher Peters for Creatures of the Wind

SWAROVSKI AWARD FOR MENSWEAR
Tim Coppens

SWAROVSKI AWARD FOR ACCESSORIES
Irene Neuwirth

GEOFFREY BEENE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Tom Ford

INTERNATIONAL AWARD
Raf Simons for Christian Dior

FASHION ICON OF THE YEAR AWARD
Rihanna

THE MEDIA AWARD IN HONOR OF EUGENIA SHEPPARD
Paul Cavaco

THE FOUNDER’S AWARD IN HONOR OF ELEANOR LAMBERT
Bethann Hardison

BOARD OF DIRECTORS’ TRIBUTE
Ruth Finley

Photo: Getty Images

Tim Blanks Revisits Galliano’s “Wedding in Hell” for Dior Haute Couture ’00

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Dior

Maybe you’ve heard enough about the Red Wedding in Game of Thrones, but have you ever compared it with John Galliano’s Christian Dior Fall ’00 Couture show? Probably not. In this week’s Throwback Thursdays video, Tim Blanks revisits Galliano’s “wedding in hell,” which was simultaneously beautiful and savage. Rather than dressing models in the same hair and makeup, there was a twisted cast of characters: a “sadistic priest,” a gladiator, a wicked mother of the bride, a devil on a leash, and countless more “psycho dream creatures” Galliano dreamed up for the lavish nuptials. The entire show was more like performance art than a runway show. “It was kind of a glorious lunacy,” Blanks noted. We couldn’t have said it better. Click here to watch the full Throwback Thursday video.

Christian Dior in Black, White, and Color

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Cecil beaton dior

Christian Dior may have been reserved in person, but he left volumes of quotable lines about his work. One example: “Black and white could be enough.” Apt for this particular season, and also for the Christian Dior Museum in Granville, Normandy, where it is writ large on the wall at the exhibition Dior: The Legendary Images: Great Photographers and Dior, open through September 21.

“Museums are almost replacing books. [An exhibition is] like a living book, and that’s especially true for [ones about] fashion,” noted the show’s curator, Florence Müller (Though it should be note that Rizzoli has released a book corresponding with the show, and the tome is pretty impressive in and of itself.) “What’s beautiful about fashion photography is that beyond an iconic piece like the Bar jacket, you have the makeup, the look, and all the refinement of a time that makes you dream. In the end, it’s like a film. It’s magnified beauty.”

Black and white might well have been enough: Hollywood-worthy moments abound in the exhibition. Alongside the Bar suit is Pat England’s original shot of the ensemble at Dior’s first presentation of the New Look, which made the designer a star overnight in 1947; there’s Richard Avedon’s Dovima and the elephants; a Marc Riboud shot of Audrey Hepburn exuberant over a dress in 1959; an early fashion series by Irving Penn; house images by Willy Maywald; iconic images of the model Renée by Henry Clarke, Beaton, Blumenfeld, Newton, Demarchelier, and beyond—all in black and white. Then comes vibrant color, from the first fashion shoots in exotic locales by Norman Parkinson, Corinne Day, Sarah Moon, Steven Klein, Bruce Weber, Mondino, and Inez & Vinoodh, the duo behind the house’s current Secret Garden campaign. But rather than present Dior’s photographs chronologically, Müller sought to bridge past and present thematically, which led to a few surprises—not least a trove of color negatives freshly unearthed from the Elle archives.

Dior

“It’s always thrilling to rediscover something you thought you knew by heart,” notes Müller, who started by leafing through sixty years of fashion magazines—the French editions of Elle and Marie Claire and the archives of Vogue Paris and American Vogue. “In the case of the Bonbon dress from Dior’s winter 1947 collection, we found an image by Emile Savitry we’d never seen before—and then we realized we actually had the dress,” she notes. The Chantecler dress from the controversial 1954 ‘H’ collection is echoed in a vintage photograph by Clifford Coffin, a star lensman in his day (one of his photographs headlines the exhibition). The Trapeze dress from Yves Saint Laurent’s triumphant 1957 debut at Dior is front and center in one display. Another archival picture of a last-minute fitting of a dress once worn by Rita Hayworth finds an incarnation upstairs, in a 2012 iteration by Raf Simons.

“Exhibitions should be a spectacle—beautiful, strange, curious, bizarre,” said Müller, citing John Galliano’s Tibetan-inspired creation and his 1997 Masai-inspired outing. “When you stand back, you realize that a fifties dress could be contemporary, or that the contemporary creation was completely in the spirit of what M. Dior liked. You realize that fashion is not a museum,” Müller concluded. “It’s an ongoing conversation.”

Photo: Courtesy of Christian Dior 

Fashion Rocks the Boat

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George BarbierThe Style.com offices are still abuzz over yesterday’s Chanel Resort ’15 show in Dubai. The harem pants, the hair, the frayed tweeds! But the venue itself may have been even more spectacular than the clothes.

To get to the show space, which was situated on a luxurious man-made island, guests stepped aboard small wooden boats. Glamorous? Yes, but boats are quickly becoming the transportation of choice for must-see shows. Just last week, Raf Simons debuted his Resort collection for Dior at the Brooklyn Navy Yard (where Alexander Wang hosted his Fall ’14 show back in February). To avoid black-car gridlock, Manhattanites boarded yellow Dior ferries and cruised across the East River in style. Talk about a chic Uber alternative. And last year, Opening Ceremony took it a step further by hosting its Resort ’14 appointments on the Freedom yacht at Chelsea Piers. Editors were required to remove their shoes before hopping on board, but we doubt there were many complaints—a seaside venue beats a crowded showroom (and traffic jam) any day.

Photo: George Barbier via Getty Images 
Photo: George Barbier via Getty Images