Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Dior Haute Couture Retrospective Pt.1 - Autumn Collections

Good Day to the Human Race! Back to school and I am sitting at a table and attempting to find the words to present today's post, because it's sort of a long-ish post idea, which I have not communicated in my relatively simple Title.

So, here goes:

A Retrospective of the last Seven Years and Fourteen Haute Couture collections of Dior... today I am starting with all the Autumn collections since 2005, and in a future post, I shall do all the Spring Collections since 2006. Why? Well, I know these are all relatively recent and it's not as if I am pulling you back to the sixties, but I was looking through Dior 2005 and wishing I had posted some of it - just because it's not the latest season does not mean I would not blog about it.

Anyway, here is my 'Dior Haute Couture Retrospective', looking back at Dior's very recent Haute Couture History.

Autumn 2005

What distinguishes this collection? It stands out from other collections due to its ressemblance to a Drama or a Story. First a carriage pulls off onto a darkly lit stage, mist everywhere, and a little boy in a sailor suit jumps out followed by a woman in an exquisite gown (top left) and it's a small length of time before the it seems like catwalk starting rather than the start to some fantastic new stage production.
That practically sold it to me as my favourite show because, for people who can't even dream of owning or wearing or buying one of these works of art, it's all about the entertainment factor. The worst thing is to get bored of an Haute Couture Collection.
So yes, top prize for best set. Oh, and the little boy in the sailor suit at the beginning (I know I have already mentioned this) is so adorable! I watched that with the knowledge that I may accidentally torture my own children by stuffing them into sailor suits until they reach the age of seven... and I managed to scare a few younger members of my family by asking their Mother if she would willingly lend them to me to take photos.

I adored the fairylike elements too... as well as the slightly steampunk feel (Yes, I know I am going to severely anger some steampunk classicists, because I would not call this steampunk. Too many things are simply neo-victorian but, while watching, steampunk was a word that popped into my head numerous times. I shall, therefore, mention it. Na!)

(The whole runway video is available on Youtube, among other places. You would not regret taking a look because it's pure spectacle. In fact, all of the videos for these collections are somewhere on Youtube)

Autumn 2006



I was not sure about this collection. I know a lot of people saw the safest pieces as the dark, brooding fur with the grungy, decadent feeling - but too much brown, too mauch fur and I honestly did not like it, especially with the tight black leggings worn underneath (You'll notice it is not included in the above.)

The rest of the collection, I sort of loved. I did not mind the walking lettuces or cabbages, bref the topiary. There was something delightfully medieval about these few 'topiary' outfits. It almost feels like the women wearing them were going to skip off to a joust any moment, standing at the side with their bright colours (as decoration of course, not as spectators) Yes, it is a little 'Kitsch' but I feel like it's light relief that the collection needed. After all, the vampiric red coat with black belts and black writing (as much as I loved the innovation and the coat was wearable in small measures) was positively frightening. You would not want to meet that in a dark alleyway.

Continuing on the slightly medieval or renaissance feel, though moving in a different form, is the use of the women as half knights... then the gloriously ostentatious finale gowns and helmets in the style of Ancient Greek phalanxes (for those who don't know, the helmets worn ressemble them - but not this one ;) and, as shown above, the more modern military one in brown or gold - with feathers. I chose the red and gold piece because I am adore the amazing way the large trench suit is cut and how it fans out from the waist down. The silhouette is imposing with the large collar and sleeves and the very rich decorations around the edges. In fact, I love them all for their slightly imperial nature!

Autumn 2007

1947 - 2007 sixtieth of Dior and this collection truly seemed to resurrect the style of the 1940s and 1950s, showcasing some beautifully luxurious outfits finished off with delicious opera gloves, using generations of models at Versailles. Glorious moments with the New Look style wasp-waisted and full-skirt silhouette mixed with Hollywood glamour. This, of course, was all the greater for its inspiration drawns from photographer, painters and illustrators. Colour moving in more and more gradually, from the monotone at the beginning to extravagant, vividly coloured gowns at the end.

I adored the theatricality and the glamorous details - it would have felt unfinished without the dazzling jewels, the afore-mentioned gloves, fur trims and beautifully retro curls. I especially loved some of the headgear; the paint palette hat was to die for, in its beautiful simplicity, especially with the dress.

Autumn 2008

This was another hark back to the 40s and 50s with wasp waists, in some ways as an homage to the first great supermodel, Lisa Fonssagrives. Only here the ultrashapely New Look essential was characteristically twisted, turned and toughened up, with such things as studwork and lots of black leather, each look built on a lovely corseted foundation to create the bodies of the dresses and the figures and shapes needed.

The palette was also a great combination with monochromed black and white, then soft pastels as the chief colours. The mixture of semi-pencil skirt shapes and full-skirted created the elegant and sophisticated element that was so charming, giving more feminine effects. The tiered silks and tulles were, again, highlighting the vintage Dior element, with crinolines even being used in places.

However, although it is certainly beautiful and lavish, there was a more sedated air to this Haute Couture collection in comparison to previous collections. Especially in comparison to the Madame Butterfly of the previous Spring. There is maybe a sense of counterpoint to that, a sense of more practicality and a grown up feel.

Autumn 2009

 Out of all the collections I have presented for the Autumn, I would say that this just takes the edge and is the best in terms of wearability. Why? Well, first off, I adored the colour palette and the vibrant air, especially when paired with the undressed feeling. The use of hip-emphasizing basques, girdles, lace-edged slips, and petticoats were morphed into variations on the classic wasp-waisted silhouette of Dior's New Look. Secondly, with maybe a skirt added, it would actually be possible to wear these.

It was not exactly new and innovative, but it was presented elegantly with high-quality appeal - the outfits do not look less classy for the lack of clothing but more as if the women wearing them simply did not have the time to put all their clothes on (I know that this is not the case, but I am trying to conjur an image more than anything else)
Bref, I liked this collection and I cannot pick a favourite piece.

Autumn 2010


The Autumn 2010 collection was nothing short of a floral treat. The show had beautifyl clarity that still shines through now, not only in the palette but in the delicate techniques. The shaping of flowers was mimicked in the fronding, the feathering, the beautiful ruching and the intricate ruffling. Delicate they may be in nature, but bold is in the veins of this collection with a coat like a huge inverted daffodil and a dress in black taffeta - hand-painted with pansies. I could not imagine anyone not being seduced by  the jacket and skirt combinations like the jade mohair with portrait neckline over a petaled bubble of black organza or the white felt over lilac organza. Beautiful!
The headgear was fantastic too, created to look like a florist's wrap and adding further floral, and exotic, dimensions to the collection.

In an Edenic beautiful fashion world (bref, the sort of world I deserve to live in) this would be the daywear that would fully complement evening dresses of an extraordinary dimension—gigantic domes of tulle overlaid with gloriously coloured swags of organza (I LOVE ORGANZA - sorry, just thought I might say that)

Anyway, gorgeous collection and worth looking back at.

Autumn 2011 

The 2011 Haute Couture Collection, presented by Bill Gaytten, and his first collection with a great team behind him (made up of Stephen Jones making the headpieces, Jeremy Healy on beats, Michael Howells with his set design, Pat McGrath on makeup and Orlando Pita on hair) was, in many ways, true to the Dior aesthetic. It was architectural too, with elements seeming drawn from the Memphis movement of the 1980s, presenting a sort of post-modern madness.

I did like it, and here are my chosen pieces. I liked the lunar and cosmic aspects, including the last piece in the collection which, I have just realised, I did not choose to post (Ah, well. You can find it online) Other pieces in the collection also came across as semi-disco mixed or with lightly tribal elements.

Anyway, thanks for reading! Do tell me if anything I have said does not make sense or if a sentence is only half-finished. I am incredibly scatterbrained and tired today and, to be honest, cannot be asked to read this through again. So... yes...

Please comment and Do Follow! I shall be back ASAP with my reviews of a whole load of Spring Dior Collections over the last few years.


Claudine Chua said...

love it~ :)
thanks for sharing! :)

Keit said...

Hmmm... really enjoyed this. I can't believe you found so many distinguishable patterns in the different collection. I would just explain it as "Freaky" and that's that. With no other brain activity whatsoever :D But your post was really and eye opener. My favorite is Autumn ^_^

Valery Goncharenko said...

like your blog! what about following each other? :)

Anonymous said...

Really cool! My fave is 2011 actually!!! :) <3 Emma

dimitri said...

C'est amusant mais j'ai aussi parlé de Dior. Pour moi ça reste une référence en Haute Couture. Il y a aussi Balenciaga dont je vais bientôt parler.
Superbes toutes ces collections. C'est vraiment de l'art.
Un très beau post et cette rétrospective nous permet de voir l'évolution des collections Dior Couture.

VioletaMeynell said...

wow very nice :))

carla said...

I love the 2005 one! It kind of reminds me of angels. I also love that hand hat thing in 2006.

Jazzy E (Hivenn) said...

Amazing,amazing, amazing. x hivenn

Amy's Fashion Blog said...

All the dress are beautiful

Sincerely Mally said...

So vintage!! Love them!!