Christian Dior's lightness of being

Christian Dior's lightness of being

Christian Dior's lightness of being

And of all the many designers turning catwalks into underwear displays this summer 2010 season, who can do better the classic seduction of a severe, belted jacket over ethereal underwear?

One man raved about the Christian Dior show that Galliano sent out Friday: Bruce Willis. “It was very sexy — I’d like to see Emma wearing that,” the Hollywood star said, referring to his new wife, who was wearing a more discreet Dior outfit to sit front row.

The designer himself, who took his bow as a shadow figure on a screen, to fit with the show’s film noir theme, talked backstage about the austerity allure of a young Lauren Bacall and of Humphrey Bogart trench coats, but not of the recent solemn anniversary of the end of World War II that the soundtrack of air-raid sirens suggested.

The models were certainly 1940s sirens of a different kind, with their Rita Hayworth hair falling in a curtain around strident red lips. There were lacy shorts or sheer dresses with a built-in band, suggesting a garter belt beneath, that were supported by those 1940s platform sandals that already flooded shoe shops last summer.

That was the problem with this collection. For all its delicacy, and prettiness, was there a single idea that took fashion — or Dior — forward?

Everything seemed like a reworking of early Galliano collections under his own name, but now with all the finesse and studio support that he has from Dior.

The chiaroscuro effects were superbly done, with a sheen on translucent fabrics creating charming dresses for the cocktail hour. The clothes will no doubt come with a silken lining, although Galliano joked backstage — where he was congratulated by Rihanna wearing one of Stephen Jones’ cocky hats — that the trompe-l’oeil petticoats removed the need to wear anything under the evening dresses.

They were certainly gorgeous, as beautiful bodies swayed inside these filmy (and familiar) dresses. But ultimately, this was a lightweight collection — in both senses.
The season’s leitmotif is, indeed, lightness.

Visible bras were embroidered with flowers and therefore meadow sweet rather than nightclub raunchy.