A Blush of Rose
September song - the leaves fall and we slide into autumn style
Beulah London launch their Autumn-Winter collection and new Sloane Street pop-up
As a new season got under way the Beulah London team headed by founders Lavinia Brennan and Natasha Rufus Isaacs opened their new pop-up store at 192 Sloane Street in London as a spot to showcase the new season collection. Their Ebury Street store is open as usual but the team decided to branch out and also try somewhere new. After summer adventures taking Beulah to the Eastern United States in New York and the Hamptons in collaboration with India Hicks they where back with some
exciting new style ideas. Taking inspiration from the night skies of India above Jaipur where they spent time earlier in the year shooting a project and spending more time with the projects that Beulah supports on the ground in Calcutta that enable women to develop skills and become self supporting and independent. A happy looking elephant welcomed visitors to the store and inside a spectacular treat awaits with the boutique gently decorated with murals handpainted in gold by Lavinia and more of the team, as a reflection of the gentle nature and quiet beauty of the Indian night sky. A large centrepiece couch displays cushions that carry the tile inspiration from the walls of Indian Palaces and are infused with the life and bustle that is everywhere around on the streets.
The simple power of the colour contrast between the scarlett, black and the blue brings the sharpness of the design details into simple focus. To the left above tile print dresses, blouses and skirts sit alongside red velvet jumpsuits that are flattering to both taller and smaller sized figures. I'm pleased to see velvet making a comeback and it's a smart option for a formal outfit at this time of year when you may be exposed to the air briefly in the way to events or chatting and catching up with friends in larger rooms. To the right you can see some of the more popular pieces that have lived on from the Summer 2017 collection that show how the autumn looks have moved this on into a next phase. Monet inspired prints, country dresses and tile-inspired looks all combine to make a perfect set of options, and the sun is always shinning somewhere in the world.
Twinkling stars have their own natural sense of romance and some fabric layered in close-up to the right shows the free hand motif that appears on dresses, skirts and blouses. It's also often a symbol of independence too and I'm not sure if this was intentional but it's also another way of linking back to the message of hope and freedom that Beulah aims to spread and encourage through it's work. The printed garments are also accompanied by silk tie scarfs that you can match with pretty-much anything. You'll see also that tweed is back in beautiful waist length jackets and in coats that reach to just above the knee.
You can see the softness of the fabric and richness of the colours that boldly illustrates the sense of warmth and innate vitality that the collection captures within it. One of Beulah's House specialities is the well tailored blouse, which actually isn't so easy to find always. This season the offering includes light floral prints and the Dinah chiffon wrap top in white is an easy classic multi-season piece you can literally wear with almost anything.
Pictures of inspirations for the season line the walls giving a real feel of the journey the team has taken and the sense that for Beulah they have created a space that feels like home on one of the most exclusive shopping streets in europe.
You can see the star print shimmering on the opening series of looks in the collection below. Opening with the painted lady dress a classic from the earliest of Beulah's collections it's shape and silhouette are perfect for those with longer legs and also could be adapted to be worn by different heights. To the right the Aurora star print tiered gown is a floating piece of heaven almost literally in it's heavenly design. This piece moves wonderfully on the wearer and is such a romanitc piece to wear. It's versatile as at floor length you could wear it for dinners or drinks or black or white tie receptions should you wish.
The Larissa star print silk jumper is a comfy and practical piece to relax in and can be worn in many ways. It works well with smart separates from this collection or leggings and soft jeans. A new style to the Beulah series is the handkerchief dress that is flattering to the more curvey celtic-type frame that I have falling gently over the hips. The slight bohemian feel indicated by the varying length of the skirt adds a carefree hint to a garment that could be worn on both formal or not formal occasions. To the right a highly sophisticated combination of the Rhea chiffon blouse and the Siren star tiered skirt make a perfect date-night combination that you could also enjoy for any smart social occasion. It's simple, classic and a look I could see being worn all over the world.
The ultimate wrap-around piece above to the left comes in the Abigail tweed coat which is going to gove some very strong protection against the elements and also sits lightly enough on the wearer so as not to make you feel to warm if you're wearing it indoors at a reception or at the theatre. Paired with the seriously sassy black velvet Tatiana trousers, it's warm for cool day and evening events. The Ophelia Ruffle sleeve dress in blue evokes the clear colours of sky and waters while the Ophelia Floral dress in the same style manages to look quite different even though the only change is the fabric. The Cressida jumpsuit with embellished detail at the shoulders slightly harkens back to the silver screen era of the 1930's and 1940's and is a stylish statement of confidence.
The Silene floral print dress above to the left is a light piece that's perfect for evening drinks parties and could be worn in the day whenever you wish. Cut to give focus to the waist and at the cuffs, it's neighbour the Portia shift dress, is also equally as flexible in it's possibilities. This would make a great Christmas and New Year's eve party dress and just wants to be danced in. Centre above the Sophia floral print wrap dress is a soft light addition to your wardrobe that, like some of it's sister pieces, you can easily sneak through into the next season and treasure. Beulah pieces also have the look of being great gifts for people too as
they capture a sense of occasion. The Dinah chiffon wrap top in it's pure white is one of the most versatile separates that you will be able to find this season. Softly ruffled and fluted at the cuffs in double layers of peplum, it crosses the figure gently and is generally flattering. The Delphi black floral skirt is a perfect companion for this piece and sits flatteringly on the hips reaching to below the knee.
Velvet is a strong trend this season and the black Tamara jacket teamed with the Tatiana trousers creates a very sophisticated evening look that would look fantastic in front of the camera for a red carpet event.
The Seraphina black dress to the left is pure cocktail party glamour and the light embroidery detail at the arms and across the outer shell of the skirt shows the delightful beauty that you can find in fine craftsmanship. To the right the Cressida burgundy jumpsuit is one of the best known looks from the collection and is so soft and easy to wear. Converting this into a blush coloured wrap dress gives another high glamour possibility that will work well in front of the cameras for high glamour events and in private.
The transfixing geometric print features in many different garments from dresses, to blouses and skirts. Using a strong contrast of circular patterned and chevron shapes the designs catch the eye in an echo of the counter-convention styles of the 1960's and 1970's that expressed the free spirit. This could be me imagining quite far into the brand story in awe of the work that they do with the Beulah Foundation but I see a link. All of the looks are appealing and hopefully will find their way into the collections of friends of Beulah old and new. The last piece in the collection makes a powerful closing statement. The Genevieve embellished gown in red is a high glamour formal wear dress that could be worn for black tie events through the Christmas season and beyond and red is also said to be lucky at New Year.
Jigsaw's Autumn-Winter 2017-18 collection
Jigsaw have produced a fun and colour-packed Autumn collection and I thought the best way to show it was to take a look back at the press day earlier this year. With the last days of winter fading away we stepped into the lower ground floor of the Regent Street store to be greeted with a bright burst of colour.
Exactly what eyes needed and it was a warming sight for the heart. The collection was broad, moving through many moods with notable attention given to bright pinks, oranges and burnished reds. Reliable knits and bright high visibility toned coats in a variety of fabrics provided many tempting ideas while in front of the display a seasonal trend for velvet totes and converse showed an easy option for slightly pared down glamour. To the right above you can see soft satin sling-backed shoes with low heels hinting at the flexibility of the glamour that edges into the collection at various times.
Design ideas are played with in many different ways such as expressing energy and motion across the surface of a coat, centre above, by using line and raised soft felting. It's art meets fashion and this experimentation shows that this doesn't have to be exclusive to high fashion design. To the right plant shapes streak across several looks and the thistle, a beautiful flower from northern cooler climbs sits neatly on the print of a blouse. The second major colour mood after the bright tones themed around red was a quasi-marine blue, white and yellow. Jersey stripes however, barely feature and the instead the broad legged sailor trousers are adapted to leisure wear. Light and think knit sweaters in yellows and blues offer varied layering options and while a diverse selection of tailored and soft-lined jackets offer choice for outfit formation. Little backpacks offer streamlined stowing options as well as another way to brighten up the winter wardrobe.
Monochrome and mettalics also playes a big part in the collection with numerous pieces inclined to a slightly sports theme as well as chic ensemble of work wear and smart outfits. Trouser suits and tailored jackets form stylish and warm options against the cooler airs. Jigsaw play their strongest hand in work and leisure wear and as I spoke to the team, it was easy to identify a number pieces that I could hapily add to my wardrobe. In a final suprise after being fed with some delicious canapes we received a surprise thank you of a little purse that is amongst my favourite things this season. Double faceted in velvet and leather with a handy large sized zip it is easy to combine with many pieces and heralded the autumn trend for velvet softness.
Coast celebrate their collaboration with The Royal Opera House for Autumn
Coast is one of the most reliable brands on the High Street in the UK to go to for evening and occasion wear and this season the chocolate box selection of dream dresses was topped off with a series of looks that celebrated the partnership with The Royal Opera House.
The iconic drapes and folds of ballet costumes are re-imagined in this exploration of the ballet silhouette. Coasts design team where granted unique access to the costume workrooms of the Royal Ballet to understand the structure and design of the beautiful garments worn by dancers and gain inspiration.
As we could see there was clearly some strong inspiration there and the seven limited edition pieces each carry a unique character and accent the delicate beauty of ballet in a different way. Looking at the pieces you can see hints and reflections of different areas of ballet dress for the myriad different roles that are undertaken on the stage. I hope that many of these pieces also find their way into the audience this season. Lace, satin, silk and beautiful ideas combine to create a number of beautiful options to suit different figures.
A red satin dress with panelled bodice and mid calf length skirt resembles pieces that I know I've seen on the stage in the past. A soft colume appears in the lengths of the fabric as the wearer twirls and dances. This piece could easily be worn with a jacket or wrap on cooler days and the open neckline invites the addition of a piece of jewellery. To the right a laced outer dress sits over a satin under-layer with the light whisper of fabric gently moving across the outer surface. It's a beautiful twist on the shift dress idea and again resembles the beautiful costumes of the stage.
The feathery touch of the winter fern makes a soft addition to the shoulders of a long-sleeved Jersey style top that accompanies a finely pleated lace skirt. It's a nod to the cold shoulder trend of recent seasons with a theatrical twist. There's an echo of the past here in the antique feel of the lace petticoats, like something from the 16th and 17th centuries. The feather detail at the bodice of the black dress to the right is another reminder of the traditional 19th century ballet costume and meets with a modern twist in the fine pleats of the skirt completing a contemporary 21st century look. Again you can easily accessorise this with a jacket or wrap and with different purses styles. Coast's own range of small handheld clutches are a good match fitting the natural composition of the collection.
The exhibition of the seasons wider offering felt very complete with about 50 looks on mannequins appearing ready to shimmy and burst into life. Chic rosette folds on the blouse above to the left off sets a semi sheer satin piece that could be worn with a variety of separates from the collection. The ruffles falling down the sleeves add a hint of angelic wing-like detail. Trousers tied with a cummerbund style ribboned bow at the waist are both comfy and high glamour allowing you to pass an evening in relaxed style. To the right the Tyler pleated maxi-dress in shimmering gold is another simple party piece that will suit a variety of figures. Hinting at the long lines of the 1930's and 40's Hollywood era this piece dazzles in it's charm but is not too overpowering to make you lose sight of the wearer. Again Coast hit the right spot ensuring that the piece will work with a variety of shoes, jackets and clutches. To the right pleats in velvet through the length of the skirt make a seasonal statement in one of the fabrics mooted to be the most popular in the collection. Two contrasting yet complimentary styles are shown here with a laced collar luxury jersey style top and a simple tunic on the model behind.
The soft blouse and bolero jacket combination above to the right is a perfect easy to style look that blends with the simple lace shift skirt underneath. This is a seriously glamourous look for drinks, dates or evening receptions and will suit women across the age spectrum. There are a plethora of easy to choose styles here and I note across the range of looks there is a common theme of being generous around the hips with the cut of the style allowing for natural curves to show.
In a broad sweep of the collection there must have been over 100 pieces in the studio that created a styling dream as a one-stop showcase of looks that could be worn. The main collection takes a bold approach to design as heralded with the caption 'Dramatic Detail' on the boards behind the models above. There is a strong yet subtle use of geometry in the pieces and the Coast team have realised just how to hit the spot in terms of creating an angulated contrast that also flatters the female lines of the figure. It's a happy natural contrast.
While they are known for their formal wear pieces the team have also established a more casual line in the last couple of seasons called Coast Friday. These are great work to leisure pieces and use lots of soft trousers, blouses and sweaters. There is a town and country feel here with pieces that you could hop off a train from the big smoke in and head out to dinner with friends and family.
In terms of creativity the Coast team find ample scope within their brief to design a multitude of joyous fabrics that have sparkle and life in them but don't look too challenging. Whether your used to dressing up and meeting dress codes on a regular basis or carefully choosing a piece for a special occasion Coast produce looks that have style and personality without being too 'out there'. It's a safe choice without being too boring. Be it a date at The Royal Opera House, a wedding or planning looks for the Party Season the Coast team have done their best to make sure you have some memorable pieces to choose to add to your wardrobe.
Zoe Jordan showcases her Autumn-Winter 2017 collection at the Burlington Arcade.
She's carving out a role in the market in casual luxe and also finding time to travel with the work of her brand and raise three small people also. Like many women today, Zoe's become a master juggler and has her sights set firmly on the future. It was lovely to drop by her store on opening day and see a dynamic vibrant brand taking it's place alongside the more traditional jewellery and countryware stores. Burlington Arcade draws curious shoppers of all ages and many international clients to it's guilded halls. It's wonderful to see a brand that will offer something different in international contemporary luxury to visitors.
Zoe's muse is a confident character that embraces both a utilitarian sense of practicality as well as a sense of style that has it's own unique finger print. It's expressive and dynamic and fuses a feel of sports with stylised luxury comfort. The colour dial can move up or down depending on where your mood sits and this is a full comfy kit for both outdoors and indoors. Dressed like a cosy dressing room the boutique is manned by Zoe's core team lead by the able Chloe Siddle who has been with the brand and shared Zoe's journey for many years. A soft chair, plants and a rug give the relaxed feel of warmth to the space.
This season she unveiled the latest creations to arise from the Zoe Jordan knit-lab and the Zoe Jordan woman was joined by a gentleman and smaller children's sized garments, so something for all of the family potentially. Colour wise soft and warm pinks are joined by grey, black and baby blues and light lime greens. Sweetly romantic knitted bows peer out from palm sized eyelets at the elbow and sleeve of a sweater in Zoe's pioneering open shoulder and elbow style. The idea of placing a sports edge into soft knitted wool and cashmere pieces is something unique to Zoe and I remember speaking with her when this look was in it's infancy. Several collections later it forms part of the genesis of her look. These separates can be combined with jogging pant or your own jeans, jeggins or leather look trousers. It also strikes me that these pieces would make really nice gifts for friends potentially who like to challenge the norm of shape in art and design.
Jackets and coats following the sports/leisure theme including the Kari above and the popular Bear run jacket also fit easily ino the wardrobe working with other key pieces you may have. There's a hint of 'borrowed from the boyfried' here but it's a smart and practical style that looks every inch what a confident woman would want to wear to see her through the colder days of winter. Sheerling Mongolian wool at the collar is designed to proof you against the coldest weather and discreetly tucked inside adjustable inner shoulder straps illustrate Zoe's commitment to making practical technological adjustments to styles based on what will work best for the woman and what she needs to be comfortable and get the most out of her day. To the right above the series of pieces inspired by mettalics also emphasises practicality whilst bringing an urban feel to the offering.
The Maxwell knit sweater above to the left, again cut with an open shoulder style shows more of Zoe's flare for experimentation with knitwear. She sees it as a dynamic element of the wardrobe and one that can be played with and experimented with in a number of ways. The styling of these pieces is flattering and also approaches the genderless without looking truly uni-sex this is something that Zoe also manages to achieve well.
There's a gentle balance being struck here with Zoe quietly branching out into different way to serve her audience. The bomber jackets above for him and her can be customised to order by the clients creating a truly personal fit and also a wonderful gift for a friend. The bespoke servie offered by Zoe Jordan coers both men's and women's tracksuits that this season feature the classic 'American College' block lettering and collar and cuff piping detail. Alongside the bomber jacket it's a retro look that has an enduring appeal.
The colour palette of the Autumn-Winter 2017 collection opens with neutral tones of sand and ochre with a gentle dusting of grey provided by the shoes before the collection move to a metallic mood. Sheep skin with hardy Mongolian origins blends with the garments at the upper part of the figure offering warmth across the arms and shoulders and at the head. Knitted beanie hats are also on hand as an alternative if you're looking for natural sustainable fibres.
Knits working around a metallic theme are a tried and tested combination for this label and have been successfully worked into numerous collection looks across several seasons. Cut away knits with and without fringing form composite layering of a look and however challenging or conventional in the direction that they reach in, the key theme that runs across is comfort. Retro shapes find further scope for the imagination to explore with playsuits and striped tracksuit trousers finding a new lease of life with either bomber jackets and military neat jacketed lines. A dungaree apron sits over wide leg trousers and a tie die effect sweater. These are easy looks to relax in and also have a naturally cosmopolitan feel. You could be anywhere in the world in Europe, the United States and beyond and wear them casually and comfortably as part of the palette of you life. With Spring peeping around the corner as the snow melts is always lovely to see the bright pops of colour come back into our lives and Zoe cleverly signals this as the collection draws to a close.
Christies auction of the estate of Audrey Hepburn
She was many things, an actress, a campaigner, a mother and also notably a survivor of a war time occupation. Audrey Hepburn is very deserving of the sometimes over used monica of Icon in the ranks of twentieth century women noted in the realms of fashion and the cinemetic screen.
In a landmark sale many of her effects that tied to some of her most well known film roles were offered for sale by her two sons and grand daughter. Hepburn lived much of her later life in Italy and her sons travelled over from there to introduce the sale pre-view to a private audience before the public view. The portrait above that introduced the assembled collection is one of the most well known that exists of Hepburn evolving the 'Roman Holiday' and breakfast at Tiffany's era. Looking out at the audience she exhibits the calm self assurance that gave her the strength to move forward and pursue so many challenges in her life with a steely determination.
The wardrobe on display runs the full span of day wear ready for the camera to cocktail and evening pieces. Many of the most prominent 20th century luxury fashion Houses feature including Chanel, Balmain and Dior but notably the House of Givenchy. Hepburn had an especially close relationship with the House of Hubert d'Givenchy and even today her memory is intertwined with his. Today the retired aristocrat who became one of the most celebrated Paris Couturiers is no doubt aware of the sale and for many buyers in the burgeoning field of fashion and Haute Couture collection who respect the legends of both artists, the sale presents a unique opportunity. Throughout the display the uniform theme is one of neatness. That subtle note that shows an outfit to have the right composition for the eye to recognise it as sophisticated. Many are looks that could easily be worn today and show how the formal wear of the late 20th century moved slowly and gently away from a notion of rapidly changing formal wear styles decade by decade as the pace of life sped up.
Public life in front of the lens calls for a series of confident wardrobe statements, appearance by appearance. The camera often has a way of enhancing a look so that what may not look too much in person can look oer the top on camera. Hepburn understood the eye of camera in the same way that her contemporary Grace Kelly did and honed her style as she gradually won bigger parts and raised her profile in the industry. It's inevitable that some of these outfits will be worn and enjoyed in their new homes and I can help but think that the lady herself would have been very pleased for the new owners having a chance to share the pieces that she enjoyed. Many will also be destined for museums and private collections around the world and may also find there way perhaps to the homes of some designers today. If I had to make a choice of just one garment I would choose the midnight blue mini-dress coat with black trim. For me the playful twist that this makes on a traditional men's jacket with European hints is beautifully softened into a gamine silhouette. The slim line that helped her become famous owed itself in Hepburn's own words, to the limited diet that she was exposed to during her adolescent years in an occupied wartime Netherlands. Widespread rationing meant that as an adult she was always sample size and sylph like.
Smaller personal effects such as earrings from Hepburn's jewellery collection are even more readily adaptable to many wardrobes and again the sympathetic styles of semi precious stones and pearls are classic and elegant. Symbols that echo scenes from her most well-known films such as the umbrella and cat from Breakfast at Tiffany's in baby-soft colours show a gentle almost child-like fondness for the memory of the characters who built her career. 'Interdit' the strong feminine scent that Givenchy created to capture the essence of Hepburn, his ultimate muse, is also shown and offered for sale in it's vintage box.
Again alongside fashion and accessories such as bags there is also a sector of the vintage buying market that takes a strong interest in brand history and the packaging and production of beauty products through the history of a fashion house.
Photography also plays an important role in the sale with a series of legendary portraits by Norman Parkinson of the actress from films including My Fair Lady that she did have the genuine quality to trans form and also emphasise how much work goes into acting especially when playing costumed roles that require complex hair, make-up and costume. There are a lot of different elements and supporting teams that help an actress become a new person. By anyone's estimation this is certainly one of the most tasteful celebrity wardrobe collections to go under the hammer and at neighbouring House Sotheby's the same weekend Vivienne Leigh's effects were also offered for sale. No doubt not an easy decision entirely for the families of both actresses but both understood that garments had a place and a purpose in their lives. Above to the left the famous Breakfast at Tiffany's cocktail party dress stands squarely proud in the centre of the display, the mannequins stance echoing that of a star. An intricately embellished matador costume is pure theatre and also evokes the playful nature that we remember in the actress. To the right a range of outfits in their formal wear style sit alongside the rain coat of Holly Golightly and show how deeply influential the mid 20th century style of Givenchy and his mentor Christian Dior was on the style of women for decades to come.
For us Hepburn is a distant figure, a successful Hollywood actress who became a high profile charity campaigner travelling the world to help try and better the lives of others. She was an artist with a keen sense of social justice and privately also a mother and close friend with her own identity beyond the roles that she played. Her legacy to us and her family is multi-faceted and shows in ever aspect her sense of tirelessness and determination. It takes courage to become a star in the industry that she did and to mold that celebrity into something iconic crossing into fashion perhaps began by accident but in doing so, she gave us all a legacy of something to enjoy and a series of memorable quotes and inspirational cues to show where determination can lead. Thank you Audrey.
Chanel on a bright afternoon in Paris
It wasn't the main focus of my trip but while passing through Paris in Ready to Wear Spring Summer 2018 season it was a perfect place to pause and reflect of the best of the current season fashion that had just arrived on the rails. On the Rue Faubourg Saint Honore a large sign indicated that the ever youthful visage of Mlle Chanel was undergoing another transformation. Chanel are planning a new store launch from the look of things for 2018 and this reminded me that while I had some time I should pass it in the Rue Cambon, where the House first put down roots in Paris.
The sun was beaming down on Paris and notably Louis Vuitton had instaled their giant golden artwork covering the side of their new salon at the Place Vendome to represent Louis XIV himself but thoughts were moving towards adding layers for the coming autumn. If you are looking to find a superb winter coat Chanel is pretty hard to beat. Covering a range of style options from the traditional to the more experimental they have one of the most sweetly beautiful choices to be found. Still true to the heavily British-influenced roots of Chanel woolen tweed features strongly in the offering with styles touhing on Princess cut, clear menswear inspired lines and contemporary design visions. They are a true multi-generational brand as the traditional Couture Houses of Paris always were. My quest was coat focussed but I also fell in love with the trio of boots to the right that playfuly adapt the toe contour colour of classic Chanel ballet flats to a darker shade for winter off-setting seasonal colour notes. You could blend these boots with a variety of outfits during the day or evening.
Mulberry show Spring & Summer 2018 in Paris
During Paris Fashion Week Mulberry made a home in the central Paris residence once used to show John Galliano's collections and currently owned by the Schlumberger family.
It certainly provided a setting that matched the grandeur of the collections theme, the carefree summer days of the British Aristocracy. The era of Vita Sackville West and her Bloomsbury group is also evoked through the moods and styles of the collection. Layers and ruffles, light delicacy and then a challenge to convention in the adaptation of the masculine suit lines to the feminine form. Hat's that quintessentially British accessory also feature in the collection in a moment when the late Edwardian meets the 21st century. The grandeur of the public rooms in the house give a sense that these 'Brits on Tour' have been transposed to an environment that feels just like home to them.
After ascending the grand central staircase guest were treated to seeing the home movies re-imagined of Johnny Coca's new bright young things projected on one of the vast walls in the cavernous interior of one of the salons. Soft focus and sometimes a little blurred it carried the dreamlike quality of Halcyon Days that he wanted to evoke. Colour is one of the most notable features of the collection itself and it greets the eyes boldly in much of the Spring-Summer 2018 offering. Coca has sough to take a new direction this season though with a collection blending hints of flapper style and late Edwardian with the free reign creativity that designer in the early 21st century can have. Would the Bloomsbury set and interwar children of the aristocracy dive into this dressing up box? Quite possibly yes, as there is a confidence in the vibrancy of the clothing that is quite charming. This collection screams fun and play-fullness in the language of fashion and when you see beyond the initial impression of the bright colours new details appear to emerge.
A long line 1920s style tunic dress is adapted in the lower skirt to show pin-tucked ruffles and below pleats falling at concertina angles. A dress to make an entrance in that could be combined with a light single colour jacket. Part of this motif translates to the hem of wide leg trousers with a cut away waisted blouse offering a cooling counterpart for the upper part of the figure. Stepping back into the early previous century a rosette crowned hat off sets a crystal embellished knee length coat dress giving a new spin on Summer season formal wear. Will we see someone wearing this to the races or a wedding next year I wonder? Pink and green are one of the key colour harmony/contrasts that Coca employs and to the right a green trouser suit sits with a pink gathered blouse underneath.
A cloche hat expresses angles in a post-modern moment before the eye moves to more traditional lines to the right. Again the broad brimmed rosette, this time in gold crowns the look that features a white sleeveless summer coat sitting over a golden tunic gathered at the collar and cuffs in a nod to traditional rustic styles. This reflects the romantic curiosity for a longing for a simpler life appearing to be free from care that they imagined those less fortunate lived. One of the most innovative parts of the collection was the footwear offering, of which a close-up look coming later.
With the public rooms of the town-house almost transformed into a giant dressing room the full wardrobe gets due consideration. A beautifully ruched damask-rose dress comprises the neat skirt fold that several pieces in the collection do creating a chic and simple look for a cocktail outfit. This could easily be worn with a cocktail dress or alone. Switching to relaxed mode the mustard coloured easy-fit trouser suit to the right is pure lounge-wear that you could easily get away with in front of the camera. Whether during holiday on the French or Italian coast or in front of the cameras for slightly more relaxed red-carpets, this look takes formal wear to it's most low key.
Pink and green off-set each-other again in the next piece with a sheer blouse resting on top of a ruched skirt with the collection signature up-take pleat hemline. Adding a hint of showgirl perhaps in a nod to the heritage of the past the Edwardian and late Victorian petticoats have a new lease of life in this collection. To the right a mid-calf coat dress sewn with crystals again gives a sparkle to the traditional silhouette of a century past. While the style of the garment is a new contemporary play the hat itself, with it's rosette shape is classic piece of design that could be worn with any formal dress or suit today.
As we would expect from Mulberry, first known for their impressive array of accessories a new expression of purse style also enters the collection for next season. One of the most charmingly simple styles I saw was the sack shaped purse, the most traditional (if not ancient) shape for a ladies accessory gently gathered at the neck and tied with simple gold chains. A timeless gift or fun outfit accessory. To the left a series of purses and totes show Mulberry expressing another series of design possibilities in classical styles. Colours are slightly more muted than in much of the clothing offering to give the accessories a more discreet feel but the bolder colour elements of the collection are contained in stripes across the designs. As with Mulberry's coterie of purses, these are designs that could be transposed into many smart and casual outfits across next season and act as an interchangeable part of the wardrobe.
Stripes are a key focus and feature for many looks in the collection and the looks above to the left show the diversity of influences that Coca draws in to the designs. Does it have to be definable in any way? They stand as a bold colour statement and moment of expression. The blues and orange-reds evoke hot days and clear skies of the next season. The structure of the garments isn't too traditional and loose styles dominate. A jewelled blue flower decorates the buckle of a belt curling round the body of the belt. To the right a puffball style skirt and blouse tied at the waist offers a casual stylish take on luxury. At the centre a summer dress with fluted pipping can be worn alone on warmer days or with a cardigan or jacket.
Shoes are an area where Coca has excelled in creating something plucked from the imagination this season. Debuting in the collection this season, he has used ceramic heels inspired by traditional fine English China. I chuckled when I saw them and exclaimed what a fun idea to Vanessa Lunt who leads the London Mulberry team. Satin slippers seem to be one of the ideas that the collection has worked it's themes around, extrapolating the theme with central knots, applique crystals and creating an array of boots and shoes for their audience.
The delicate patterns of china in blue and white and red and white appear in a series of looks through the collection light dresses and blouses, hats and the mood setting of the collection. Away in a private gallery a huge array of china from the 17th to 20th centuries was displayed and I learned that this used to be also part of the Mulberry home-ware collections. Above to the left the willow pattern blue translates into the blue of suit and pressed mini skirt. The light fabric of the millinery is matched in the material of the blouse and dress. Whether it's the crisp lines or the floating femininity that take your fancy, or perhaps both, there's a gentle harmony to the overall look. Shimmering expressions in dresses and a metallic hint to the collection and a light to brighten up the nights of early spring. It's a charming and timeless idea to adapt into a collection.
With a feast laid for us guests and inspiration in how to set a table with seemly impromtu ease I muched on a couple of sweet berries and thought about the next step that Mulberry has taken in re-visitng the legacy of Britian's high style heritage. Taking the best of the past and making something new from it is often a recipe for success for many designers and somehow in this quiet sedate area of central Paris it seemed to be the right thing to show the best of British style to a Parisian and international audience who have an eternal fascination for British culture and customs. A lovely bit of fashion diplomacy from the Mulberry team.
Christian Dior - Couture du Reve. A celebration of 70 years of Dior Fashion at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs
In the 70th anniversey year of the House of Dior this celebration of the work of Christian Dior himself and his foundation of the House followed by the work of his successors to the present day is probably the most internationaly celebrated fashion exhibition of the year. It rightly deserves to be and for large parts of the
French public it not simply the interest of wealthy women but a key part of their national identity in terms of a craft that they excel at before the eyes of the world. This was clear during my visit to thronged galleries alongside fashion faithful and many very interested French from all walks of life. Dior also has at it's heart a strong influence within it's origins in Britain that is not at first obvious, much like it's rival and counterpart, the House of Chanel. Christian Dior's mother and father were anglophile and the family home included household staff with the British origins. The family garden at their coastal home at Granville in Normandy at the turn of the 19th into 20th centuries, looking out across the English Channel, was heavily influenced by the English Country Garden. Dior himself also travelled widely in the UK in his younger years before the 2nd World War and saw England, Wales and Scotland. Notes of style and traditional mores of dress at the dawn the twentieth century slipped easily into his consciousness and would have a great influence, I feel, on the output of his later career.
Entering the exhibition a large cabinet displays, alternately in open view then opaque screen with filmed stills, dresses worn by the late Princess Margaret. She with Diana Princess of Wales were the two most well known patrons of Dior in the 20th century although fashion itself played a walk-on part of their lives alongside their other commitments. Princess Margaret's patronage of Dior beyond the life-time of the founder into the era of Mark Bohan was one of her longest relationships with a fashion House and certainly the longest of one that was not British. Dior understood how to create looks that met the needs of a contemporary Princess that retained the poise and demeanor of royal dress, something subtly different from the glamour of Hollywood and Cannes.
Revealed in tantalising glimpses, the dresses above are pure Haute Couture glamour. The white-ice pink full skirted dress furthest above was interchangeable with the image of it's wearer Princess Margaret. It still today could serve as a template for the perfect look of a fairytale glamour ball gown a defining fashion moment. Above to the left where the dress is shown from another angle another style that Dior mattered, the long line gown with an outer-layer faintly echoing the make morning suit coat, harmonises an icey Rose with black in an elegant contrast. Christian Dior channel the nature and form of simplistic style and perfected it. He knew in a century where women's lives were changing they needed garments with the subtly and elegance of the past combined with ease of movement for the wearer. He was a student of design formerly training in architecture but he was also a clever businessman from a family of successful entrepreneurs and his thoughts turned naturally to what could sell and build the brand of Dior as we might say today. A floor length dress in rose-pink tied with a ribboned sash at the waist is a perfectly executed study in 20th century Haute Couture style. A magenta silk coat sitting perfectly over a long gown creates a perfect formal wear ensemble that could be worn for a variety of occassions. The magenta day dress to the right with it's grey-blue belt is another strong colour statement that could be worn with or without a coat across many seasons.
Art in contemporary form has always played a strong part in influencing style at the House of Dior. The early galleries of the exhibition show a series of paintings that are pro-ported to be from the Dior collection. Beyond the classical lines of many of the Houses' creations more elaborate play with colour and pattern can found. Dior may have been the House of the New Look but it certainly wasn't the House that showed just one look.
The Harlequin jester's outfit re-made into fanciful Haute Couture hints at modern masques and parties and has the fun and frivolity that is essential oxygen in the world of Haute Couture. To the right two evening dresses explore challenges to the conventional lines of style and design while still creating flattering dresses for the female figure. These date to the 1980's when Dior was more than maintaining it's image as a leading Parisian Haute Couture House following the early decades of the 1950's and 1960's. The dresses to the right above show the more recent variations of the Dior New Look style under the watch of the House's two most recent designers prior to Maria Grazia Chiuri assuming the position of Creative Director.
A wonderful introduction to the atelier of Dior and the mind of the desiner was a lengthy passage of finished garments, accessories and fully finished mock-ups sometimes known as (poupees - meaning dolls in French in an earlier era) that were created to give buyers and clients as well as Maison Dior staff a hint of what would be coming in the next season. In anage before DVD and internet these where an excellent way to show three dimensional examples of what they finished garments would look like to selected audiences. To students of fashion history and many more, they are simply adorable in their own right and I would imagine any that slipped out of the possession of Dior would be highy collectable. In sweeping colour palette sweeping the spectrum of the imagination of Dior, the frieze almost feels as though it could consititute and exhibition in itself. Every permutation of an evening dress that you could imagine across the 20th century
is here, in it's home in the Dior archive. Both the life-sized and demonstration pieces show their ability of the Dior magic to take the viewer on a flight of fantasy, in the imagination to places and moments where they could wear the dresses. Also for many the clean-cut lines of the styles simply delight the eye in their sense of uniformity. There is an order in beauty that is hard to resist, even at the instinctive level. Fashion often runs in cycles, even if they are cycles that show adaptations and above to the right an apricot dress from the later 1950's shows an adaptation of the elaborate bustle detailing found in the skirts of Parisian dresses of the late 19th century. Both costume and high jewellery have played a part in Dior's accessory repertoire over the past seven decades and many of the
pieces are easily interchangeable with looks from across the Dior seasonal Haute Couture collections from one generation to the next. To place one garment or accessory after the next in the most subtle gradation of colour is like playing with the most glamorous 3D jigsaw puzzle that you could imagine. For fashion students, in fact even myself, it's a place where you feel the urge to get out the sketch book and start getting to know the shapes. It's tempting to look at many of the life-sized pieces and imagine wearing them today as this is the vintage wardrobe many of us would love to pick something from.
The range also gives a clue to the key to Dior's identity as a House that favoured the use of strong bold colours, often in the singular, sometimes in doubles during the era of the 1950's when Dior set about establishing the firms reputation as a leading fashion House. Today we recognise his clothes as fitting to be worn on formal private or public occasions and what's interesting perhaps to recall is that Dior as young man would have entered the French diplomatic circles had his parents will prevailed but instead, following his own more artistic inclinations with their support, he eventually dressed women who attended receptions in this world. A simplified form of elegance that was honed to the perfect of graceful stylish simplicity was perfect for this arena and Dior was unsurprisingly one of the leading Houses that Diplomats wives and daughters would call upon for clothes and in more recent times with thankfully more women diplomats, the principles themselves. Fashion diplomacy is a topic that's quite extensive in itself I first used a term 'diplomatic dressing' a few years ago and far from frivolit, the French along with many other nations have long understood the visual power that the highest standard of fashion has in creating the best possible representation.
Dior dressed women with myriad different interests and influences and it would be wrong to see the cohort of his client base has having a collective identity beyond their wealth. The vast array of styles taken from the coloured series snapshot of Dior's heyday give testament to many different faces and places that saw the work of the atelier worn in. Even beyond the usual hues of colour favoured for evening dresses he manages to make grey look interesting and creates both beautifully executed day suits as well as showing a conceptual cocktail dress that uses folds of oregami-like fabric to create a layered 3D effect. If you had ever wished to see a full over view of the repertoire of what a leading Couturier could offer a client in the mid 20th century this part of the exhibition is essential viewing. Also of great interest are the drawings featured showing design for dresses and early inspirations such as the swan print and neighbouring black dress.
Delving into the rich and colourful history of Paris and France was another valuable source of ideas for Dior. To the left the arches over the hips of an 18th century dress skirt are dropped in an experimental high fashion garment that brings the bodice o the dress lowerbeneath the waist. Richly embroidered as clothing of previous centuries was, this look could be worn on a warm evening or with a cloak across the depths of a cold winter. To the left at it's shoulder, a variation of masculine style shows a long line frock coat transformed into a ladies suit jacket. This could also be worn with a complimentary single coloured dress but also looks striking with simple black pieces that highlight the detail of the workmanship. To the right a sleeveless blouse and trousers in light blue silk offer a natural pairing with the jacket or could be worn alone separately and also channel the 18th and early 19th century mood of the room. This is a romantic era in terms of the beauty of the clothes that were created and sat alongside a politically turbulent back-drop. Dior have always been aware of the power of romance and the impact on clients imaginations.
To the right a dress shown in a lit cabinet gives the full sense of appearance of the garments when shown under high lighting. In the foreground a silver coloured dress with fine embroidery across the skirt and crystals lined across the bodice is a defined perfect evening gown. To the right a little experimentation appears with another adaptation from the male wardrobe as a man's outer coat is adapted in style and fused with an impression of a double layer of petty-coat in the coat lengths and pleated under skirt. Set in rooms deigned to evoke those of palaces or grand salons in Paris the clothes feel like they have the space that they require. An embroidered light blue coat dress sits next to the first of two dresses that appear to resemble the coronation dresses of Queen Elizabeth. Richly embroidered with flowers the first dress in white silk is perfectly accented by the light soft colours. To the right a dress covering the shoulders has a sash appearing almost as an apron around the waist with flowers in a chains emulating the ancient chatelaine keys worn by women.
Lace is a wonderful fabric to craft into luxury garments, either as outer-layers or in detail and above to the left in a complete garment. With white and the very faintest hint of green underneath this bandeau style dress can be worn alone with or without jewellery or with a jacket or wrap for cooler nights. It's a light piece sitting easily on the figure. To the right a re-imagined drawing room scene, like many of the tableau of the room show several figures turned as if greeting new guests to the room simultaneously. The light coloured dresses sit beautifully on the figure and offer a pretty sophisticated spring-summer series of looks. You can see in several places, bow-sash detail and its a simple motif that Dior employ in several places to simple, yet pretty effect in peach, pink and ivory. To the right a pink frock coat with golden embroidery and trim show in closer view, more of the craftsmanship of the atelier. To the right in the foreground, another dress evocative of the cream-ivory silk coronation dresses that were created for Queen Elizabeth as she celebrated the start of her reign across each of the Commonwealth territories. With it's intricate embroidery it's the equal of any piece that could be created to be worn at an official or state function. To the right a duet of ivory and pink looks show further expertise from the Dior atelier that has endeared the House to clients around the world for generations.
Moving forward the next series of pieces references the international travel tastes and inspiration behind Christian Dior. China and far East Asia feature subtly in the collection with references to cherry blossoms, silk prints and also Chinese script writing. In the background above a robe hangs with fabric at full extension as if worn to show the full beauty of the garment. Whether evening dresses or flights of design fancy to be worn by clients, these looks all encompass imagination and passion. To the right a work by Monet shows the floral feel behind many of the influences to the works below. The inspiration was also often jointly taken from Dior's garden at Granville in Normandy too, begun by his mother it was one of his earliest mediums by which to explore colour.
The above is a series of some of the chicest cocktail dresses that you could imagine and notably again there is plenty here to interest a wide variety of tastes across a diverse international client base. Above to the left two dresses in the foreground in a contrast of single and floral print illustrate the hugely diverse canvas that a fashion designer has to draw on for ideas for formal wear pieces. A magenta-red dress with beautiful rosettes descending the length of the skirt to the knee is an easy piece of elegance that has a beautiful sense of humour and fun about it. To the left it's neighbour with long lines and sleeveless appearance looks slightly less formal and channels the era of the late 1960's and early 1970's.
The floral series in the centre offers a sweet selection of designs from the garden for both day and evening wear options. You can see the full span of Dior's library of creation from the early shapes taking their cue from the Bar dress to the tulip style dresses of the later part of John Galliano's era at the House. Haute Couture dresses women of all shapes and sizes with relish and care and you can see here a number of different styles that would suit so many women. To the right a rosy trio features one of the dresses with a rosette style bustle, the ultimate statement cocktail dress and to the right it's companions work the contrasting lines of figure hugging and tulip-head shaped.
Below three of the dresses in close-up show the mastery of skill that the atelier of Dior can bring to the vision of both designers and clients. Each piece is a masterpiece and if it were not in a museum, would be something to treasure and perhaps pass down through a family as many clients do. Shown in the round, each is an off the shoulder dress in the bandeau style that became popular in the mid 20th century along with similarly neck-lined swimwear as conventions loosened. The attention paid to the floral detail is fascinating and truly deserves to stand alone as art work. Garments like these in their beads, jewels, fringing and drape show you exactly why some people collect Haute Couture as other would collect art.
In a quiet moment above a staircase in the exhibition Dior showcase the impressive series of covers that they can credit to their name. It's a poignant moment the span of era's reflects the brands consistency. Something to stir many memories. Dior sits at the heart of conventional Parisian Fashion but often takes the opportunity to show it's humour too. To the centre below a fur coat from the 1960's in ice cream colours with a grey hem and diagonal of the Eiffel Tower makes a carefree statement. At the entrance to the exhibition the 'Bar' suit famed from Dior's well publicised post war 1947 launch stands with classic quiet elegance as a signature theme for the wider exhibition itself.
Taking the white walls of the atelier as an inspiration for their back-drop the next series of rooms showed finished garments in grey and black in a sympathetic tonal display. Dresses, day-suits, coats and formal wear from across the 70 years of the House so far. To either side of the 1960's Dior girls above you can see one cabinet of conventional classical Dior style and to the right more recent pieces exploring a conceptual side to Dior without losing any of the frivolity or excellence that clients expect of the House. Although clearly vintage, again you look at the garments and feel that you could see someone walk by your wearing them or see them offered for sale to eager buyers in a specialist auction perhaps.
The many era's of Dior are explored in series of rooms that focus on the work of each designer who came to the House and added their own touch of magic following the legacy of Mr Dior. Above to the left the work of Marc Bohan who lead Dior's creative direction from 1961 until 1989 giving him, so far, the longest tenure of a name at Dior's helm. Dior's sweet bows still feature above the waist in a lightly dappled and burgundy water colour print dress. Cut to just above the knee, they offer generous freedom to the figure in contrast to the restrained styles of a few years earlier. A cream coat and hat (possibly recalling the plant pots of Granville - unless this is just me thinking of gardens!) offer both comfort and simplicity to the client with the jacket almost universally able to coordinate. Echoing Balmain, the next dress in lavender to the right is a classic piece of 1960's Haute Couture that shows a leap of the imagination with the feel of establishing new conventions rather than breaking completely with the past. Perfect chic cocktail and black tie dresses stand by it's side but as ever, these are not all for the youngest of Dior's clients by any means as the designs in many cases lend themselves to being worn by women across the generations. Light laces, silk gazaar and taffeta weave around the figure in a musical harmony celebrating the beauty of women. Knee length double skirted golden thread dresses look the natural companions of dipped hem and knee length black dresses by it's side as if they could be a the same party.
Sharp edged lines of the sleek international style of the 1980's and early 1990's are unmistakable in the looks above to the left. Cocktail dresses and a day suit finished with feather plumes at the pockets typify the fresh look to high glamour that the era had and Dior was right in the forefront of creating this luxury style that defined an era. Centre above a day suit cosmopolitan enough to be worn by any woman around the world stands behind a formal wear suit of black skirt and elaborately embroidered white jacket. In the foreground a beautiful ball gown shows the attraction of designers in the 1980's in recreating the broad skirted looks of the 1950's and early 1960's. An era that Dior was perfectly placed to reference as the House itself defined the era.
Above to the right and beside here at the left, the work of John Galliano showed that the skill's of the Dior atelier were up to the challenge of meeting one of the most powerfully creatives minds to ever run a French fashion House. The dreams of Galliano that came down the run way shot like a comet across the collective consciousness of the fashion work and after a small lull in the early 1990's in the world of Haute Couture Galliano ensured that Haute Couture and the world of Dior maintained it's position and even gained ground in the eye of the public through the world's media. John Galliano's dresses made front page news around the world season after season and inspired countless young designers as well as satisfying clients across the globe.
Maria Grazia Chiuri is the latest name to lead the House of Dior an her installation as the first woman to head the House following her departure from Valentino was seen as a welcome new step in the industry. Mindful of the traditions of the House, she has quickly adopted a style that references the best of the past with fresh touches for the future. Keeping the clients engaged from one generation to the next is key and for Grazia Chiuri following her success at continuing the light and energy of the founder of Valentino following his departure she has already proven that she is both a worthy custodian and assured innovator.
Toiles, the translucent linen blue prints of a garment, are a thing of fascination for many people interested in fashion within and without the industry and in a room of vaulted white cases illuminated and mirrored we felt as though taken into a an atelier transformed into a hall of mirrors. This room shows in high relief the work, focus and dedication that goes into creating Haute Couture. The stages that Dior, Saint Laurent, Bohan, Galliano and Grazia Chiuri and their teams have known as second nature rightly take their place in the staging of the Houses work. The stages of construction and the materialising of the dream and vision are fascinating as art and an insight into design technique. There is a growing interest in the life journey that a garment takes for many reasons including an interest in ethics as well as expertise. You may just possibly also be able to glimpse something that you saw come out on the catwalks.
One of the most striking room arrangements I've ever seen was used to show an assembly of day and evening wear from across the seven decades of the Houses life so far. Sharp suited in skirts and coats (never trousers) this room was a powerful summary of how influential Dior has been in shaping fashion and the popular consciousness across the 20th and early 21st century. Strictly coded across a handful of colours black, red, charcoal and grey it shows the flawless perfection that walks forth from the Dior ateliers. Broad brimmed hats and their cloche and pill box counterparts show the attention that Dior has always paid to millinery in British style. Notably John Galliano continued this work with his long term design collaboration with British milliner Stephen Jones. The clothes speak for themselves in many languages and for many of us this defines part of the basis of what we know as formal wear style in the modern era. Above the classic loos of the earliest years of Dior are the obvious antecedents to the legendary Dior riding coat created by John Galliano for the Spring 2010 Haute Couture collection and the glamorous cocktail dress at it's shoulder. Having found so much inspiration to take forward from the early codes of the House, there is n ever expanding archive in effect for Grazia Chiuri and others in the far future to draw from as they continue the work in Dior's style.
The finale room of the exhibition is suitably grand for a House that has designed dresses worn some of the most opulent spaces in the world. In a large hall of the Museum that originally formed part of the palace of the Louvre dozens of dresses were arranged on dais' shaped in the Dior oval cartouche. Spanning all era's it felt like this room was a pure celebration of women's strength expressed through the language of glamour. Any one of the dresses shown could be a personal landmark in the life of a wearer and many of the garments, notably the white floor length dress with a bow draped from shoulder to waist, is a piece that looks contemporary and regal. It could well be the long gloves that really do add an extra touch style but rarely worn these days. On cold nights they are however quite handy. Again through this incredible collection of design you can still see the mark of Dior's reserved use of colour. Generally only one or two in a garment that is often what the eye recognises as stylish and elegant.
At one end of the hall that was flanked by mirrors at either gable end to give the impression of an endless space, a podium of models showed black through to golden coloured looks. The assembly was crowned by a female Pharaoh celebrating the height of Galliano's power and decadence but always, always with the strength of women at it's heart following in the true steps of "Bar". Unlit it looks beautiful but as you can see below a real treat is in-store later on. Centre above the embroidered dress reaching the floor is an inventive re-imagination of the Victorian hooped dress. The assembled gathering looked like the scene from a society charity ball or grand party. The walls were lined with portraits from history of the style forbears of Dior's clients showing where the genesis for long flowing lines and the opulence that Dior loved and wanted to give his clients emanated from.
A group of models at the far end of the impromptu ballroom modelled dresses that included some that were shown at the two Blenheim Palace fashion shows held by Dior in the United Kingdom. With Princess Margaret appearing again as a supporter of the shows in 1954 and in 1958 at these shows the House quietly aligned itself with a strong style ambassador. The colours of the dresses are beautiful to see against the backdrop of the black and white films. It's a special experience to be able to see so many dresses from different collections together in one space. Flowers, embroidery, crystals hand sewn and crisp folds. To the right above two dresses with scale like folds in their skirt lengths make a playful twist on convention. Also not afraid to experiment with fashion and how it could be adapted, Diana Princess of Wales was a private client of Dior alongside British labels and relied upon their expertise to support her work with some unique gowns and as a thank you the House notably created a tote bag in her honour.
While looking around the vaulted room drinking in the beauty all around suddenly the lights changed and began to move through a sequence of moods and shinning on the podium. First the dresses in a soft spotlight drew the gazes in the room and then across the surface of the walls a projection of landscape scenes through windows of an imagined manor house gave way to Renaissance paintings across the walls and ceiling.
Music with a sound of sparkle and tingle built to a crescendo and then a moment of 'popping' as if a very soft bubble burst and golden lights appeared across the platform and in the air around the audience. Like a scene from ancient mythology that the Old Masters had tried to illustrate a heavenly glow and aura shone down on the room like a thousand tiny fairy twinkling around the gowns. It held the gaze of all around and then day slipped into night and the heavenly goddess now created and deified in art where set amongst the stars.
Sun and moon, day and night. A feeling of eternity and an allegory I feel that fashion, more to the point style is a timeless language that travels across cultures and always finds it's way to someone who can understand. But coming back down to earth, it's a beautiful way to show how Haute Couture is enjoyed under the spotlights and amongst the stars. Dreams are made of this.
Above the entrance to the opening galleries of the exhibition a show reel of some of the most memorable looks from Dior were shown out of date sequence.
Dresses and faces of models familiar from our experience of the House popped up one by one and for anyone not well versed in Dior's history, perhaps someone accompanying a friend it was easily digestible and a beautiful collection in itself to watch.
I think I must have snapped each dress as it came round through the real but clipped hte collection down to the show some of the most dynamic looks and maybe the most well known. To finish with, my indulgence I added a picture of my favourite dress. In the foreground of the picture with it's double layered sugar pink skirts and slim line bodice would be a perfect piece to wear by itself or with a jacket or wrap. Sweet dreams from Dior as always to put a smile on your face.