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Dior's tribal chic

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AFP
Published
today Sep 29, 2008
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PARIS, Sept 29, 2008 (AFP) - John Galliano heeded the call of the wild for Christian Dior on Monday, unveiling his "tribal chic" look for next summer which partnered tame silk chiffon with python and sharkskin.

In a tent packed to the gunnels with 1,500 press and buyers, he sent out a collection heaving with animal pelts and reptile skins cut up into jackets and coats, some 'au naturel' in black, camel and grey, but others dyed startling shades of orange and acidulic green.

Leather jackets looked as if they were battle-scarred like Zulu warriors.

Even the micro-mini silk skirts underneath the jackets, sunray pleated and often sheer, needed the legs of a giraffe to carry them off with conviction.

Galliano took his bow at the end in a sober black-trousers-and-waistcoat ensemble, to the resounding applause of a host of celebrity guests, including the ex-wife of Marilyn Manson, cabaret artiste Dita von Teese, the singer Lily Allen and actresses Eva Green, Milla Jovovich, Marion Cotillard, and Elsa Zylberstein.

Martin Margiela, celebrating the 20th anniversary of his house, chose a venue with lugubrious associations -- a vast former municipal morgue in a northern suburb -- for a show which was more about performance art than fashion.

All the lights were dimmed to total darknesss before a strong shaft of light was turned on to reveal his opening number.

His models wore flesh-coloured body stockings from tip to toe, with their faces obscured, which rendered them completely anonymous, like tailors' dummies in a shop window. Some were wheeled in on trolleys by staff in white lab coats, wearing false wigs back to front, although it was only possible to tell because their feet were facing in the wrong direction.

A model in a long brunette wig and bodystocking had similar wigs nestling on her shoulders to form a jacket. Others sporting giant afro haircuts in black or platinum blonde were clad in tops and trousers fashioned from shiny white plastic bags.

A white catsuit had the faintest imprint of denim blue suggesting jeans, skeins of wool were shrugged into bolero tops, outsized T-shirts had slashes and cigarette holes, a bondage dress with shiny blue straps exuded S&M.

Instead of the traditional bridal dress at the end, Margiela sent out a mock wedding cake borne aloft by two models, and then shiny silver discs poured out of the ceiling like confetti.

It was witty and disconcerting, but was it fashion?

by Dominique Schroeder and Sarah Shard

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