Well, you all know how great a fan I have been of John Galliano’s work for the house of Christian Dior, so this is a sad post. I’m sure you have all heard how Galliano has been dismissed from Christian Dior, after being publicly disgraced in relation to antisemitic and pro-Nazi statements, and he has now checked himself into rehabilitation for alcoholism. Yes, I know. Shock. Disbelief. This was his last ready-to-wear collection for Dior, and as usual, has so much I adore. Apparently the show was a sad affair, with a long speech from the CEO Sidney Toledano and, in place of Galliano’s usual flamboyant strut down the catwalk at the end, a gathering of the collection’s design team, seamstresses and craftsmen on stage, and both cheering and weeping from the audience. As Tim Blanks at Style.com noted, “The only precedent for this situation is Coco Chanel’s postwar denunciation as a Nazi collaboratrice. Her exile from the fashion world lasted nine years.”
As promised, the backstage hair and makeup shots from the ready-to-wear show. In a few shots you can see they used facelift tape to lift the models’ brows, just like they did in the couture show. And nice shots showing how they curled the models’ hair, and the false betty bangs. The colour match on most of the bangs is fantastic, only one or two of the blondes are a little mismatched, but I love the look. High pigment, bright block colours seem to be the go for eyeshadows this season. Lovely to see the black eyeliner kitten flicks over the top. Some nice colour inspiration here, perhaps I will branch out a little more. Galliano’s shows always inspire me to be more theatrical.
Am I sick of Galliano for Christian Dior yet? Never!! So this ready-to-wear collection is nothing on the couture I posted a few days ago, but ain’t it sweet? Keeping nautical in for spring I see – hello sailor! – and more catseye sunglasses. Oh, and the Bettie bangs (false on the models), brilliant! I’ll post up the hair and makeup shots as well, so you can get a closer look.
I’m more a fan of the styling of the show, than of the individual pieces, but my favourite in the collection is probably the pink ribbon dress. I would love to dance in that… not that there’s much to it. It reminds me a little of Cyd Charisse’s green flapper dress in Singin’ in the Rain. Laura Glaess has a lovely recreation of that. Enjoy!
René Gruau was a fashion illustrator, most famous for his work in the 1940s and 1950s. He walked away from his father’s aristocratic heritage (his father was an Italian count), to pursue an artistic career in Paris in the twenties. As an illustrator his work was first published when he was only 14 years old, in the mid-1920s. He illustrated throughout the 1920s and 1930s, but during the Second World War, work was harder to find for artists, which is what led Gruau to illustrate for lesser known designers, including the then lesser-known Christian Dior. He became artistic director for advertising for Christian Dior in 1947. Gruau and Dior worked together to shape and market the New Look, and became close friends, hence why Gruau is most often associated with the house of Dior.
He didn’t only illustrate for Dior however, but for other designers and fashion houses including Pierre Balmain, Jacques Fath, Balenciaga, Elsa Schiaparelli, Rochas, Lanvin, Elizabeth Arden, and Hubert de Givenchy, and for many magazines including Marie-Claire, Femina, Elle, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Flair, L’Officiel and Madame Figaro, not to mention those illustrations for The Moulin Rouge and Lido in Paris that you may recognise.
His illustrations shaped the path of Haute Couture, and influenced fashion itself, in a true life-imitating-art-imitating-life way. For me Gruau’s women are glamour and high-society, femininity and sensuality. When I see his illustrations I think of Paris, I think of Vogue, I think of champagne and the Moulin Rouge, and the French Riviera, of perfume and red lipstick. Gruau died at the age of 95 in 2004 – so recently! *sigh*
Visit the official Rene Gruau website here.