Monday, January 23, 2012
Dior Lite:
Le Bow: Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2012 Credit: Getty Images
Today was the first day of Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2012 (the Menswear Shows are over, kids!). In Pret-a-Porter (Ready-to-Wear), collections are shown about six months in advance, but with Haute Couture, they are shown very close to the actual season. Why? Because, traditionally, the clients were ordering for what they would wear in 3-4 months--just in time for the "Summer Balls" and Springtime Soirees in Paris. Of course, it's more like the clients are now ordering for fancy private parties in Beijing, Shanghai, Moscow, Doha, Mumbai and Rio.
Pout & Pose: Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2012 Credit: Getty Images
In case you need a "refresher" on Haute Couture, it is one-of-a-kind, mostly handmade clothing. Not everyone can title themselves as "Haute Couture" and therefore must be sanctioned and given the "Haute Couture Stamp of Approval" by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture Paris. They must abide by certain rules:
  • Design made-to-order for private clients, with one or more fittings.
  • Have a workshop (atelier) in Paris that employs at least fifteen people full-time.
  • Each season (i.e., twice a year), present a collection to the Paris press, comprising at least thirty-five runs/exits with outfits for both daytime wear and evening wear. (Some design houses seem exempt from this rule.)
  • There must a Flou (flowy, evening dresses, usually) and a Tailleur (tailored, suitings) Department with Directrices or Directors heading those departments.

There are only an estimated 500-1000 clients in the entire world who order Haute Couture on a regular basis. But now, the numbers are actually going up with increased millionaires and multimillionaires--as well as new billionaires--in emerging Haute Couture markets such as India, China, Russia and Brazil. In terms of prices: an Haute Couture suit can set you back around $40,000+ and evening gowns $60,000- $200,000+.

Now let's get to the latest Dior Haute Couture Collection:

Full Skirted Tea Party: Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2012 Credit: Getty Images

The ever-so-fabulous Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune said this of the Dior Haute Couture Collection that was just unveiled earlier today in Paris: "The collection by Bill Gaytten, Mr. Galliano’s right hand for his entire career, was way ahead of the previous couture show, which was a romp that looked as if it had been done by a bunch of art college kids". So, I guess, that was a positive review--of sorts, especially from the biting and always very honest Menkes.
Charlize Theron in Dior Haute Couture Spring 2012, 2012 Golden Globe Awards
The collection was shown in a more intimate Salon setting, models wore light make-up, their hairstyles were all identical: side-parted bobs. There was less of the theatrics one was used to from the Galliano heydays and overall it was "Dior Lite". When last week, J'Adore Dior spokeswoman and gorgeous actress, Charlize Theron (above) walked the Golden Globes red carpet in a simple nude colored plunging neckline-and-slit Dior Haute Couture gown with an oversized bow accent, one got a hint of the "new" Dior.
Midnight Blue: Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2012 Credit: Getty Images
When looking at the photos of this collection, one sees the Dior staples: the Bar Jacket, the tiered ball gowns, the "New Look" shapes; full-skirted & petticoat-ed. There was lots of transparency--which was a big theme last Fall/Winter Haute Couture Week. Lots of organza, silk gazar, and chiffon.
Aperitifs Anyone? Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2012 Credit: Getty Images
Embroidered beading was kept to an elegant minimum (as opposed to Oscar-worthy head-to-toe sequins) and there was lots of draping, pleating, gathering and one-shoulder knotting. Bows are making a come back as statement accents, whether in cocktail or full-on evening gowns. Colors: black, midnight blue, deep lilac, violet, red, blush, nude.
Understated: Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2012 Credit: Getty Images
It could be argued that there wasn't really anything new here and Bill Gaytten was playing it safe as the Dior House and it's "officials" are still in search of the "Next Great Galliano" to head the House. How frustrating must this be for him? Like "Am I not good enough?" he should be asking himself, but at the same time, he's probably happy to have a job...I would be. Nevertheless, these were beautiful client-friendly clothes--for those billionaire girlfriends and wives who can afford them--and for the Hollywood actresses who will get them lent for free--in exchange for some Dior red carpet publicity. Below are more photos from the collection...and don't be surprised if some of these make it onto an upcoming award show red carpet soon!
2012 via The 50's: Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2012 Credit: Getty Images
Haute Crinoline: Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2012 Credit: Getty Images
Entrance Making: Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2012 Credit: Getty Images


Click Below for the Entire Runway Video of Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2012: Part One:
Part Two:

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