Long Nguyen is the co-founder/style director of Flaunt.
PARIS--Yesterday felt like a steamy hot summer day rather than early fall day in Paris. At the entrance of the tent at the Musee Rodin, a swarm of photographers stood in a semi-circle waiting for their next prey to descend the steps in the courtyard. Just a few meters behind them, the Chinese singer Laure Shang (the Lady Gaga of China) appeared in a white slouch silk blouse, high waisted black pants, a Dior tan leather purse and a velvet beret. One of her assistants straightened her collar. For a moment, in the sumptuous courtyard, it seemed the drama over the firing of Dior designer John Galliano last March had died down and it was business as usual.
On the runway, white bulbs mounted along the walls flickered to form the outlines of the molded wall panels of Dior's headquarters, transporting the audience to the Avenue Montaigne salon. As the press documents on our seats noted, the collection that followed "reworks the codes that define the house to the present a modern silhouette inspired by the iconic Basque of the Veste Bar Dior. Elegant proportions are revisited and refined to create a new contemporary luxury.’
The entire show was composed of familiar Dior silhouettes over the ages, like the white elbow sleeve boatneck jacket and black and white knee length skirt or the navy Bar jacket with khaki pants. The collection felt safe and comfortable within the Dior universe. There was a greater emphasis on daywear looks where the tailoring skills of Dior’s atelier were on display, while the evening looks were lighter than usual. See the finale look: a long organza shirt dress embroidered in black jet beads until just below the waist and sheer to the floor on model Karlie Kloss.
With little fanfare, the collection should perform well at retail come next spring especially in the emerging markets where all the real action resides. The announcement of a new designer to lead the house is expected within the next few weeks.
Surely, this yet-to-be-named designer has a great deal of heavy work ahead. While the house’s rich archives can continue to provide the bases for the commercial collection in order to satisfy corporate business exigencies, the new designer has to think about creating a new foundation and look for Dior to entice a new generation of customers. One has to remember that in 1947, amidst the devastation and the deprivation from the long years of the war, a tight waisted A-line belted jacket and a matching hourglass skirt made in rich wool tweed and fine cotton--a rather simple fashion proposal--was so shocking because adopting this look meant adopting a vision for brand new world, one rebuilt from ruins. That fashion designs can foster such change of attitudes in society is rare but not without precedents in our modern history. The Dior heritage is not just luxury and chic but also radical and at times a bit of shock wrapped in sheer organza.
**All photo: Imaxtree