May 17, 2011

“The New Look” of 2011 by Christian Dior

Musée Rodin. Christian Dior Spring/Summer 2011 haute couture collection.

Maison Dior managed to achieve a slight passing from the previous to the present collection. John Galliano made a subtle displacement of elements relating to silhouette, chromatics, make-up, hairdo and accessories to the new spring couture outfits. These proved to be a tribute paid to René Gruau, the fashion illustrator famous for his fruitful cooperation for well over 40 years with Christian Dior.

René Gruau was the one who contributed to the creation of the first branding campaign for a perfume in the history of Maison Dior – Miss Dior. And even if his illustrations were put also into the service of other giant names such as Balmain, Givenchy or Schiaparreli and YSL, his reputation skyrocketed after the revival of the Dior image, starting with the New Look period in 1947. All this happened in a time when the design was not yet menaced by the technology of camera-captured image.

As a sort of overture destined for the connoisseurs, the show was preceded by an exhibition held in London of the sketches made by René Gruau for Dior, subtly introducing the theme of the collection. I didn’t clock that at the time, but this is exactly why I love Dior. Its brand strategies are always the result of minute calculations and planning down to the last details, the promotion techniques being thought of well ahead so as to create a stir around the brand.

For the Spring/Summer Collection, Galliano designed a couture “New Look” of 2011 reminiscent of the grace of Gruau’s sketches. The slim cut silhouette growing, however, excessively bigger to the lower part of the outfit was the element setting the pace of the entire concept. But the pieces spelling elegance all over them were definitely the asymmetrical skirts/dresses, sinuously folded at the knees in countless overlapping fabric layers of gradual shades of colour, intending to create the “Chiaroscuro” effect of painting.


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