After nearly 10 years in the fashion industry, I have certainly become jaded.
Fashion used to be fascinating, exciting, and something I was truly passionate about. Recently, it was more about getting a job that paid well, and didn't mean working crazy hours. I watch nearly every catwalk show during the main fashion weeks, luckily not in person, but a quick flip through fashion news gives me enough overview to keep up to date on what is going on. Surprisingly, these past few weeks have been quite exciting as far as catwalks go. Menswear, for the first time in ages, actually looks genuinely exciting. And the Haute Couture shows were stunning as well, especially the Dior show. For the first time in over 5 years, I felt emotion from fashion.
I remember my first time seeing a couture show, and let me stress that this was not a regular occurrence. I have seen three in total, however, the first two were on the same day, which was quite a feat since I was supposed to be at work preparing for the RTW shows coming up, as any good assistant designer should be doing. It was always a struggle to sneak off to see a fashion show, but we managed it, when we were lucky enough to get a hold of an invite. The Emmanuel Ungaro show was in the morning, and this Spring Summer 2000 Couture collection was everything Ungaro is about: butterflies, chiffon and pastels. The guests were seated on beautiful antique chairs with bows.
Later that day I had the pleasure of having a standing invite to the Spring Summer 2000 Dior Couture show. This was the "Tramp" show, where they apparently only sold two pieces form the entire collection! But it got press, crazy amounts of press, because Galliano decided to inspire himself from the tramps that slept next to the Seine, the ones he saw when he went running every morning. Torn sleeves, ripped hems, and empty bottles as accessories were certainly unusual for Couture. The event was great; Galliano certainly can put on a show, with bright lights, an impressive catwalk, and exciting music. I left feeling exhilarated, although not particularly keen to buy anything.
So it doesn't surprise me that it is John Galliano that, seven years later, has once again managed to get me truly excited about couture. I have never been one of his biggest fans, but after the past few weeks, I have to give him credit. He is clearly one of the greatest designers of our time.
I don't need to describe the show to you, it speaks for itself. Look on Dior's website at Dior.com and watch the couture show and backstage videos and see more catwalk photos. It is truly the most incredible couture show that has graced Paris catwalks in years. Everything you should have in Couture is here: stunning shapes and hand-work, beautiful embroideries and beading, amazing shoes, stunning colours, fantastic hats, unbelievable makeup, and an astonishing theatrical set. I showed it to some of my fashion students, who are generally un-interested, don't know who Karl Lagerfeld is, nor have they heard of Dazed and Confused even they were all amazed.
Dior's collection was nothing new, but it was incredible and only a genius can evoke this level of emotion from a catwalk show. Thank you Dior for bringing back my love for fashion. As Camilla Morton states on vogue.co.uk, everyone was thinking the same thing after the show, and she overheard one person saying it: "Well that's it, may as well pack up and go home now - that was and is couture week." In a day and age where fashion brands are struggling to be noticed through marketing, gimmicks, celebrity endorsement, here is an example of getting noticed by doing the one thing everyone should be: making beautiful dresses.