Paris Couture: Dior Inspired by Vermeer
Mon Jan 26, 8:00 PM EST
Godfrey Deeny

Paris – We headed north, but not that far, at the Christian Dior spring 2009 haute couture show Monday with a trip to Flanders, where everyone from Vermeer to Van Dyck had their say in the opulent reconsideration of the house's oeuvre.

From Anthony Van Dyck we got a whole baroque injection, his deep, almost blotchy colors and his extravagant portraits, which morphed into some outrageous crinolines that climaxed this show in the Rodin Museum. From Johannes Vermeer, known for his love of pigments, there was a whole palette of colors from his famed cornflower blue to the sunny pinks of "The Girl with a Wine Glass."

But the heart of the matter was deconstructing the New Look, Dior's most famous contribution to fashion, in a series of silhouettes and volumes that Dior's current creative director John Galliano riffed on like a jazz musician.

The opening looks all referred back to Dior's legendary 1947 show when the mid-calf length, full skirts and large bust caused a revolution in a West slowly waking from the horrors of war. No wonder, the house's couturier John Galliano called the collection "More Dior than Dior."

"I wanted to go back to what's best at Dior. And what's more famous than the New Look," Galliano told FWD backstage, after posing with actress Marion Cotillard. Last year's Oscar winner, Cotillard is the new face of the Lady Dior ad campaign.

"But, I also wanted to deconstruct the New Look, and find out the secrets inside," added the couturier, attired in an all black outfit of pants, vest and hat.

Out from a custom-made, 30-foot-tall stained glass wall came a series of great, attention seeking looks, including curvaceous, layered yellow silk skirts, amazing bodices with billowing puff shoulders, and bell-shape skirts, in a series of audacious designs.

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