Friday, October 10, 2003

Dior: Attitude, with elegance

Designer mixes eras in spring show

By Jocelyn Gecker
The Associated Press

PARIS - A bygone Hollywood era mixed with sassy rock star chic.

John Galliano calls it Marlene Dietrich meets Courtney Love - a tribute to timeless elegance and wild attitude at his spring ready-to-wear show for Christian Dior on Wednesday.

Strobe lights and sirens pierced the darkness at a tent pitched in the Tuileries Gardens, then the spectacle began with a silhouette striking a pose in a distant spotlight.

Lounge music thundered as the parade began: sexy body-hugging satin skirt suits - not exactly suitable for the office - with wildly teased hair and heavy black makeup on eyes and lips.

"I tried to imagine if Marlene was here today," Galliano said. "She'd be Janis Joplin, she'd be Marianne Faithful. She'd be Courtney Love. They were the initial inspiration."

The skirt suits were stretchy and modern, in slate gray and ivory; the skirts slim to the knee or cinched at the bottom and worn with lacy bustiers, satin corsets or fitted jackets.

Elegant evening gowns in peach satin or gold lame were worn over wildly printed sheer bodystockings that looked from a distance like full-body tattoos.

Anyone searching for the show's message could find it printed like tattoo art on the bodysuits: "Hard Core Dior."

Teeny bikinis in white, black and sparkly colors came with lots of straps and leather trim. Swimsuits were paired with bright fur wraps.

"I can't think of anything more chic than strolling down a beach in St. Tropez with your fur jacket and your bronze lame swimsuit," Galliano said after the show. "Fashion should be fun."

Accessories were a high point: jewel-encrusted stilettos, not easy for walking but ultra feminine. Clutch bags came with a twist, worn draped around the neck with a long strand of pearls or worn cuffed to the wrist. Fur jackets were fun in fuchsia and lime.

Galliano jazzed up urbanwear by showing tracksuits in soft satin. The jackets had the familiar two white stripes down the arm but the rest was covered with soft folds of fabric. Paired with a flouncy chiffon skirt or pants that bunch at the knees, the overall effect was casual elegance.

More fusion of yesterday and today came at Marithe and Francois Girbaud, where casual streetwear was a mix of vintage hippie looks with today's trends.

There were lots of hip-hugging cargo pants worn with wide belts, paired with flowery cotton tank tops and a leather satchel slung across the shoulder.

Leather patchwork jackets were snug; slim-fitting thigh-length jackets with Mao collars came in soft fabrics with pretty floral designs.

Denim was sandblasted to chlorophyll greens and faded blues, covering the spectrum of elongated jackets, loose jeans and asymmetrical skirts.

For hot summery days, there were floral tank-top dresses in billowy cottons or multilayered bottoms paired with the fashion statement of the moment - mask-like wraparound sunglasses.

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Dior: Attitude, with elegance

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