Known for his conceptual designs, avant-garde presentations and the museum quality of some of his creations, Hussein Chalayan could have presented Spring/Summer designs along these lines, but instead he opted for a very clean and minimalist collection.
Sculptural white or black jackets were characterised by cut outs around the sides while the front panel was as flat and rigid as the paper dresses used by transformist performer Arturo Brachetti.
Schiaparelli’s surrealism crept in the last ensembles, long white dresses with mysterious phantom-like hands clutching the dress on one shoulder or around the neck and creating in this way draped motifs, while plastic visors attached to straw hats and folding sunglasses paired with straw cloche hats added an unusual and almost futuristic note, reminding you this was indeed Chalayan.
There was a simple and functional elegance behind the sheer ivory pinstriped shorts and tops, jersey dresses worn with wide belts and long pencil skirts and a touch of the 50s especially in the fake pointy breasts that almost pierced the clothes.
As a whole the collection was graced by clean aesthetic that was missing in many other catwalk shows.
The live band and an unusual incarnation of Chalayan in tuxedo, slicked-back hair and mustache completed the cinematic yet playful atmosphere.
There was a cinematic feel also at Christian Dior with Galliano opting for a film noir set with models walking down a runway surrounded by steel girders.
The catwalk show opened with a short silvery trench that looked like the metallic jacket worn by Lauren Bacall in Howard Hawks' The Big Sleep.
Bar jackets were reinterpreted in a shorter and more casual, almost sporty, key, but the main theme for this collection was lifted from Dior’s A/W 09 haute couture collection in which Galliano integrated underwear garments into his outerwear designs.
The topsy turvy effect was reinforced in this collection but Galliano also focused on garment construction integrating in the dresses corsets, bras and knickers and bands reproducing the stockings.
Such clever trick didn’t cover up the fact that maybe the collection was a little bit too thin, though, despite the references to Dior's most classic and iconic designs.
Yet the effect is guaranteed and you can bet that, upon entering any place dressed like one of Galliano's femmes fatales, the reaction will be similar to Humphrey Bogart greeting Lauren Bacall in The Big Sleep, a simple yet meaningful "Wow!".
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