Long Nguyen is the co-founder/style director of Flaunt. PARIS--An X-ray of Dior savoir faire was what was promised for the spring couture collection, presented yesterday afternoon to small audience on the second floor of the house’s Avenue Montaigne headquarters. The technical wizardry that was the foundation of this couture collection was an affirmation of Dior’s history--a history that could be seen in the framed black and white photos lining the staircase to the second floor salon. There was Mr. Dior himself working on a fitting, attendees occupying the very same seats from shows in the '50s, and at the center of the staircase, an embroidered Bar suit enclosed in glass. An intentional reminder, perhaps.
When Karlie Kloss opened the show (to Lana Del Rey's "Video Games," what else?) in a sheer white organza dress with puff sleeves, belted at the waist, you could see the incredibly detailed work of the house atelier sewers--black beads were embroidered to produce 3-D flowers at the hips of the dress. You could sense the pride of the atelier’s workers as they demonstrated their skilled craftsmanship. The Dior heritage was there in every of the 40 looks. The 1947 Bar jacket came in black and white grosgrain and in what appeared to be crocodile skin cut apart and re-sewn onto tulle. There were the large ball-gowns, of course, this time in ruffled layers of red silk or in black and white tulle with a giant bow at the waist. “Dior is a house defined by its ateliers, craftsmanship, heritage and elegance,” the line sheets read. But also in Dior’s blueprint is the tremendous legacy set forth by its founder. Remember that the New Look in 1947 was not about craftsmanship alone: It was about how fashion and the kind of clothes designers make can change women’s lives. Dior’s heritage isn’t just about the artistry of craft but also about that kind of life-changing fashion--fashion so directional that it conveyed yearnings for beauty and liberation from the mundane trappings of everyday life. Craft is all well and good, but some direction is needed now, too.