Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Strokes of Genius

It's that time of year.


While those of us in the U.S. are battling cold weather and snow, the runways of Paris are hosting the Spring 2011 Haute Couture fashion shows.

And, once again, I am thrilled with the artistry and inspiration of John Galliano for Christian Dior and les petites mains who embroider, bead and fashion his visions into wearable, walking, works of art.

This year, Galliano was inspired by the brushwork of Dior illustrator Rene Gruau who served the house of Dior from 1947 through the 70s.


And by chiaroscuro (the monochromatic play of light and shadow) used so often by late fashion photographer Irving Penn. Note how the light typically falls over one shoulder, producing a gradient of light to dark color.


Galliano's challenge to his atelier embroiderers was to capture the effects of brushstrokes produced by charcoal, pastels and ink...and the play of light and shadows a la chiaroscuro...through the use of fabric, needles and thread...


I love the cross hatching with beads on the skirt on the above right and the use of tulle overlays to produce the gradient of color sweeping diagonally across their silhouettes.

The use of feathers to soften edges...and the use of beads to mimic brushstrokes...


Even the milliner, sculpted hats that extended line and appeared as brushstrokes lifted from a page...


Layers and layers of tulle in varying depths softened the hard line of hems and gave volume to the shape.

The embroiderers did a fabulous job of translation. Even the flowers look like splotches of Gruau's pastels used in his artwork...


From inspiration...through the hands of skilled sewers and embroiderers...to the runway...


There's nothing more energizing to me than the works of these artisans that are on display twice per year...when we finally get to see the result of their many hundreds of hours of needlework.

And the long gloves...sculpted hair...red lips...and retro design...all added to my delight.

I enjoyed this behind-the-scenes video of the show...and thought you might too...



Next post is about Chanel...*sigh*

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh Susan - seeing things through your eyes is just wonderful. I have never really looked at 'haute couture' before but reading your blog and looking and things so differently has opened a new world to me. I again want to thank you for having such a wonderful eye and an even more wonderful writing/expressive style.
You are the best!
Maureen in MD

Marty52 said...

Works of art, aren't they? I love the movement in the golden dress with the black beaded brushstrokes... yum.

Rachel said...

Isn't it fascinating to see something inspired by fashion, in turn inspiring new fashion. Lovely!

MosaicMagpie said...

The video!!!Work that runway!!! I am overwhelmed with the beauty. How fun it would be to be involved in any way with something like this. To see the sketches, feel the fabric, watch those creations come to life. Part of my soul yearns to be there.
Deb

coral-seas said...

What a totally gorgeous collection. I look forward to your reviews of twice a year. I love seeing these works or art through your eyes.

Missy Ann said...

This collection almost made me cry from the pretty. Most collections I scroll through mentally checking the pretty or ick box.

This one... sigh. I think I spent 20 minutes on it. So very beautiful. Loved every last design.

Jane said...

Hi Susan, as you know I'm not a huge fan of couture fashion but these and the channel are beatiful. As you say so wearable and so much fabulous embroidery and beading. Having said that I always said when I'd made my fortune I wanted a 50s Dior gown. Maybe I'll have one of these instead!!
jane

Jane said...

... and I agree I want close ups of the embroidery and beading.
j

Cathy K said...

Oh, the embroidery! The layers of tulle! I would select from these if I were a princess..... :-) Hugs, Cathy

Sweetpea said...

WOWZER...that was an utterly delightful interlude to come upon, dear Susan! Not an easy post to assemble, I imagine, but so rewarding for all of us to live vicariously through these images. I never see myself as being particularly interested in fashion (you should see how I dress, HA!) until I start reading one of your delicious fashion posts and I start to swoon all over my keyboard.... ;>}

And all that expressive beading???? s.i.g.h.

Allison Ann Aller said...

Lord, how sumptuously delicious!

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