Economy in recession, Paris fashion in session - Haute Couture Fashion Week 2009
PARIS – Looking at the shows that kicked off Paris' haute couture week on Monday, you'd never know the world was the midst of the most serious financial turmoil since the Great Depression.
Designers here delivered opulent, flamboyant collections that, instead of reflecting the gloomy economic reality, transported the viewer into a world of beauty and fantasy. "My job is to make women dream," Christian Dior designer John Galliano told The Associated Press. "Of course I'm aware of the credit crunch, but it is not a creative crunch - not at the house of Dior, anyway."
Galliano sent out voluptuous skirt suits and sculptural evening gowns that took their inspiration from 17th century Dutch painters like Johannes Vermeer. French designer Stephane Rolland — a newcomer to the elite club of made-to-measure labels — also went big, with a collection that played on volume through the use of ingenious bustles and capes. Giorgio Armani Prive, the celebrated Italian designer's couture label, looked east for inspiration, delivering a distinctly Chinese-flavored collection.
Grand spectacles, the haute couture shows garner huge publicity for the handful of labels that still offer made-to-measure garments - which cost upward of $10,000 apiece. Tuesday's spring-summer presentations include shows by Chanel, Christian Lacroix and Givenchy.
Duchess lace, delicate blue-and-white porcelain and other Flemish fineries recovered their long-lost status as the ultimate luxury goods in Christian Dior's majestic Vermeer-inspired show. Designer Galliano said he was struck by the pose of subjects in paintings by the 17th century Dutch master and his contemporaries - and by their palette of luminous blues, yellows and creamy whites.
Ever the magpie, Galliano plucked pieces from the bourgeois Flemish wardrobe - the oversize lace collars, the droopy puff sleeves, the fitted bodices - and adapted them to the labels' hallmark skirt suit, which was created by Christian Dior in the 1940s.
Rolland cited Constantin Brancusi as an inspiration for the collection, and the influence of the Romanian-born sculptor was clear in the show's big, bold volumes and harmonious lines. It was Rolland's first display since being admitted to the select group of haute couture labels.
GIORGIO ARMANI PRIVE
Armani delivered his "dream" of China - a glossy, sleek and sophisticated version of the Asian economic powerhouse.
The dresses, in lacquer red and inky black, had a costume-like quality about them. A shift dress in red sequins with black piping was almost crying out to be worn by Chinese movie star Gong Li.
Photos courtesy of Imaxtree, charlotteobserver.com, Reuters, and Valerio Mezzanotti / The New York Times
Original Source: AP
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