Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Life In Water Color

This morning, I go to style.com, anxiously anticipating the arrival of more Spring Couture shows. Scroll...scroll.....STOP. Christian Dior Spring 2011 Couture. My heart stops. I open the show immediately, too excited to breath. I don't think that I took a breath until I had finished watching the whole show. That is how incredible it is.

This show literally took my breath away. But the absolutely opulent beauty and immaculate details only grew as I discovered John Galliano's inspiration for this collection.

This collection was Galliano's homage and tribute to the famous fashion illustrator Rene Gruau, one of my favorite artists. John Galliano was actually orginally going to school for fashion illustration before he got into design, so he understands and appreciates illustration deeply.

Gruau and Chrisitan Dior had a VERY close relationship. Gruau started illustrating in magazines in London in the 30's. He met Dior in the 40's and encouraged him to start his own design house in 1947, but it didn't work out....Just kidding! The New Look was born and history was made in fashion. He became the primary illustrator for Dior and used his revolutionary style of illustrating to help bring Dior to the top. They were a remarkable pair, and Dior owes much of his success to Gruau. So John saw it fit to give him some props.

And that he did and then some with this collection. He took the iconic images created by Gruau and translated them into true haute couture flawlessly. Every detail was noted. John even managed to simulate the light and shade of Gruau's beautiful work with water color. Instead of hand dying the fabrics, he actually layered fabrics (on some dress there were up to SEVEN layers of tule). He used mostly tule and taffetta in this collection to make it feel as light and airy as possible. The dresses look SO three dimensional--so deep. The embroidery acted as shadows, the feathers as brush strokes and the dark lines as Gruau's sweeping pencil lines.

I've included some of Gruau's pictures interspersed between Galliano's collection. When you look at some of Gruau's illustrations next to pieces from the show, the inspiration and connection between them are undeniable.

The thing that I love most about Gruau is that he can create such beauty and elegance and grace with just a few lines and scribbles. It is something that I really aspire to master one day.


I love the neckline on this. So sexy.

This is definitely my favorite dress from the show. The opulence of the train, the gorgeous embroidery and the shimmering, two toned appearance of the fabric is seriously mind blowing.

I love the color of this dress. The bodice is really wonderful, too. God, and the skirt is seriously out of control. It must weigh a ton.

It's so fluffy I could die!!!!

You can see Gruau's pen strokes clearly on this dress.

Galliano has used hats just like this one in one of his couture collections about 4 years ago. Gorgeous blue.

The colors on this dress are unbelievable. The dress literally looks fluid--like it could all just drop into a fabulous puddle on the runway.

I love the soft teal.


Pink. Fluffy. Bow. Enough said.

I love how Galliano incorporated these black masks from a lipstick campaign Gruau did in the 50's.

This may be one of my favorite runway shows ever. John Galliano has proven himself again and reaffirms his spot in my heart as one of my all time favorite fashion designers. His shows are proof that haute couture does still exist.

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