Christian Dior haute couture show: French fashion house gets intimate in front of Céline Dion at unveiling of autumn/winter collection ahead of expected announcement of its new couturier.

 

 

Serge Ruffieux and Lucie Meier went back to basics for Christian Dior’s haute couture autumn winter 2016 collection in Paris. The French fashion house has endured an unsettling period since Briton John Galliano’s dramatic exit in 2011, a situation that was not helped when Belgian designer Raf Simons departed in October 2015. However,  the appointment of Valentino co-designer Maria Grazia Chiuri as  the seventh couturier of Dior is widely expected shortly.

 

The Swiss studio directors Ruffieux and Meier concentrated on the essentials for haute couture, the craftsmanship of Dior’s ateliers. The collection was presented in the intimate couture salons at 30 Avenue Montaigne, the Parisian home to Dior’s couture operations and workshops. Gold leaf sheets adorned the chic white walls of the salons.

Canadian singer Céline Dion, French actress Marion Cotillard and supermodel Natalia Vodianova occupied the front row alongside LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault and Dior CEO Sidney Toledano.

 

As a classic string quintet began to play the opening notes of Duran Duran’s The Chauffeur, a light came on, and the first monochrome silhouettes became evident. Apart from the paisley pattern dress, it was a prudent collection. The principal inspiration for this collection was the historical new look silhouette of Christian Dior’s 1947, “The Bar suit”.

 

The Swiss designers took a minimalist approach with only black and white garments. Monsieur Dior himself adored the juxtaposition of the two: “White,” he said, “is simple, pure and goes with everything,” while declaring, “I could write a whole book about black”.

 

The only colours were gold and silver in sculptural embroidery on the black wool crepe jackets or dresses. The jewellery collection echoed the embroideries’ shapes and asymmetric application with a hint of emerald green.

 

The collection has attracted the attention of the international crowd in the details of the garments, shoes, make-up design and jewellery.

All the models were given gorgeous geometric cats’ eyes created by Dior’s make-up creative and image director Peter Phillips. Their hair was well groomed with a gold or silver oversized hair-clip.  There were no heels at the show, every girl wore a cute pair of lace-up flat sandals. All those elements gave a dark and morose, near gothic look but with fresh, angelic almost childlike beauty.

 

Using The Chauffeur as the soundtrack, designers gave the crowd an insight into the essence of the collection, from classical strings of a quintet, to the voice of Simon Le Bon. Perhaps inspired by the music video, a moody short black-and-white film inspired by erotic Italian psychological drama The Night Porter and the sexy photography of Helmut Newton. The show finished with the lyrics from The Chauffeur: “And the sun drips down bedding heavy behind… The front of your dress, all shadowy lined…”.

Ruffieux, 41, and Meier, 32 took a bow side by side, at the end of the show in an attempted show of unity at the fashion house.