Dior’s Take on the “New Look” for Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week
In 1947, nearly 65 years ago, when Christian Dior unveiled his opulent new couture collection to a postwar audience, he displayed a new perception of luxury and glamour. Out were the ways of uniforms, restrictions, and sartorial sacrifices for the cause; in were the ways of refinement, cinched waists, and the flowing yardage of very full skirts. This look would come to be called Dior’s “New Look.” Since the initial success and grandeur of the “New Look,” it has been a great touchstone for designers of Dior to capture the timeless house aesthetic that the “New Look” imbues. Little did Mr. Christian Dior know that the couture empire that still bears his name would remain very much homage to him, even in 2012.
It has been a tumultuous year for Dior since the scandalous dethronement of John Galliano and still the lingering question of who might succeed him as creative director is freshly in everyone’s minds. The house is remaining hushed about the plans for the future operations of the company. However, amidst all the secrecy and uncertainty, one thing is crystal clear- that is, that for the time being, Dior is in very good, very capable hands. Head designer Bill Gaytten, who has been leading the house since Galliano’s departure last March, produced a collection certainly worthy of the name of couture.
Displayed in a silver, light, and airy fashion house setting, Lana del Rey’s “Video Games” was wafting through the room as equally as beautiful as the models were waltzing down the runway. Elegant translucence in the cocktail dresses seemed to be a motif of the collection. With gathered sleeves and full skirts, the “New Look” was emphasized, but also present were more body hugging designs with hip enhancing volume. Mostly in black, white, and grayscale but dotted with some neutral beige and several pops of orange and violet, the color palette was kept demure, especially for spring. Despite the hues and fullness, the collection had lightness due mostly to fabric choice as well as playful, feminine designs.
The collection was completed with a series of unfathomably beautiful ball gowns. Employing the translucency, fullness, pleating, and ruffling that had been aspects of many garments in this collection, many of the ball gowns included all of these details at once but continued, somehow, to not look overwrought, but distinguished and elegant. It is abundantly certain that Bill Gaytten has a brilliant understand of what is couture, but also, what is Dior.
By Sarah Humphries