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John Galliano

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READY FOR HER CLOSE-UP
Earlier in the week for Dior John Galliano drew inspiration from Hollywood’s Lauren Bacall, but for his own collection, the designer captured a more tragic heroine — the fictional aging star, Norma Desmond, from the classic 1950 film Sunset Boulevard — and as tragedy often fuels creativity, the clothes were better for it. The models’ faces were painted with wine-red puckers and harsh penciled-in brows, presenting a caricature of Norma and other early film stars like Lillian Gish and Tallulah Bankhead. Galliano continued his fascination with lingerie, layering sheers and point d’esprit, and lining everything from 1920s dropped-waist shifts to platform shoes with eyelash-edged Chantilly lace. Pleated chiffon negligees were worn open and belted for a lightweight spring cover-up. Trench coats with narrow leg-of-mutton sleeves were inset with Battenberg lace for a delicate look. What might have been Norma’s trousseau was pillaged for jewels and plumes — feathers hung from hats and  shoes, brooches bedecked jackets, and rhinestone-encrusted bobby pins were fastened everywhere. Dusky vegetal tones lent a suprising moody feel to all the lace, and were mixed with soft pastels and Galliano’s signature military green. Draped Madame Grès-style gowns that closed the show will surely turn up on the Oscars red carpet. Although the collection referenced decades from Roaring Twenties to the wartime 1940s, an offbeat styling of disheveled layers and fun prints like splashy florals and big polka dots kept it absolutely up to date. Like Norma Desmond, John Galliano showed that even in the face of adversity and tough economic times, a sense of style always prevails.
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