Dior Couture AW11: Tears of a clown

I like drama, fantasy and the untouchable and the Dior haute couture Autumn/Winter 2011 show just ever so slightly missed that mark for me. There was certainly commercial separates that buyers and their clients will love, which I guess is the key thing, after all as without these keen spenders they would be no fashion houses for us to ooh and aaarrh over.

But, fashion for me has always been about the magical and the jaw-dropping that exists mainly at the couture shows. This is where designers can really let rip with their imagination and create items beyond our wildest dreams.

The Dior haute couture autumn/winter 2011 show started strong with voluminous skirts in pastel, scalloped ruffles, neat, pencil skirts in glossy black and white stripes and leaf-foiled, flippy skirts in the colour of spices.

But as we approached the middle section of the show, the looks merged in to maxilength/cocktail dress hybrids, I was  disappointed; I wouldn’t wear them (not that I could afford them, let’s keep this real) and I wouldn’t dream about them. They were too seventies, after spring/summer 2011 I don’t want to see anymore seventies references really.  The show had a mixture of influences and not all of these looks felt necessary for the show.

Understandably though, filling the shoes of possibly fashion’s greatest ever showman is difficult and bears it’s own pressures and Bill Gaytten, head of design studio at the French fashion house has had to  do just that.  After 23 years of assisting the main man, Bill was drafted in after John Galliano was sacked after accusations of him hurling anti-Semitic insults in a bar and that video appeared all over the web. I am yet undecided on how I feel about the whole sorry mess and continually find myself swinging to different sides. Whatever the outcome the man is a talent, that is evident and it will be sorely missed as we continue through the seasons.

But from the maxidresses came the gowns that drive the audiences to the shows. Dior’s were influenced by Pierrot, Karlie Klass walked the final look donning a typical Pierrot-esque hat, make-up and a huge-skirted gown with ruffles and spots. Klass is a great model and in a complete league of her own. She doesn’t have the cookie-cutter Eastern European look or the beauty of the original models from the eighties. But she has this chameleon like quality and fun-spirited edge that means she can really take a role and run with it and she is beautiful.

And boy did the Pierrot influence take me back. All the way back to being six years old. Myself and fellow school pupils we were all asked to come to a school party in fancy dress. Even at that age, I had an eye for the beautiful and did not want to come as something like a dog character from a reading book. I wanted that drama that drives me now, and my mother intuitvely seemed to know this. She suggested I became Pierrot,  “a stock character of pantomime and Commedia dell’Arte whose origins are in the late 17th-century Italian troupe of players performing in Paris and known as the Comédie-Italienne.”  He is essentially a sad clown who loses his love to Harlequin.

Over the years the asethetics of Pierrot has changed along with the style of his costume but essentially his face remains heart-shaped with a  white base,  black lined eyes, red lips and a single tear. My mother recreated all this using glitter. I assisted, a little bit, of course and I wish I had an image to show you. It was beautiful, maybe I will unearth it when I am back at my parents house.  Devastatingly I didn’t win, and maybe deservedly so (I didn’t completely make the entire mask myself.) A girl with a paperplate, Spot the Dog mask won. What do they know about fashion anyway? And hence, my bitter relationship with that ridiculous dog they name Spot.

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~ by Rae on July 4, 2011.

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