Dior Kicks Off Paris Couture

Paris is once again aflame with the fashion set as the Bitter Editor violently sips champagne (I mean, something’s got to extinguish the flame of envy as I battle between incoming images of breathtaking dresses and mobile messages from friends synchronously sipping their libations albeit in a much more fabulous environment) and continues his tirade to tackle the look-by-look opulence technology provides. Actually, while Alexis Mabille commenced Paris’ Haute Couture 2010 shows this year, it was the fourth show of the day, Christian Dior Haute Couture, of course, that set off the furor.

And so the parade begins. As there’s nothing subtle or understated about couture, each look mimics a scaled-down parade float as it sidles down the runway. The models forgo their typical runway trots in favor of a more graceful glide. Audiences are also chiseled down to only the fashion die-hards — more art observers than critics for the moment, as one needs a special eye to appreciate the craft of couture. Though I think hardly economically spurned, Mr. Galliano, the brains behind Dior, took advantage of his crowd’s eliteness and eschewed his typical super-runway as he invited them into a setting comprised of a series of private salons, an environment better suited to the serious cadence exuded by a couture presentation.

Even ridiculous dresses up for the occasion, so when I saw soft and elegant instead of the Galliano three-ring, I was pleasantly surprised. He must’ve cracked his sartorial knuckles before this one, because instead of the usual Vegas light show couture looks typically evoke, it was more about what’s on the inside. Beautifully tailored suits, jackets, dresses, all with clandestine glances of corsetry or impeccably placed fittings decked the live frieze in front of us … I mean them … after all, I’m in New York, observing this extravaganza as a sort of hyperbolic Internet fly on the wall. Even the makeup, though bold, was nowhere near the cartoonish painted on faces of Galliano’s past collections. But as far as boldness was considered, where design stopped short, color sure took over. With the exception of soft lilac layered gowns and exuberantly playful leopard-spotted pieces, my appetite was piqued look after look, raspberry, lime, lemon, orange, cherry, each topped with Stephen Jones hats that showed off more than the one before.

Verdict: Dior Haute Couture reminds us why a dress that takes the same amount of time to complete than all 57 phases of Forever 21’s entire summer line still matters.

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