Christian Dior at Paris Fashion Week

John Galliano dazzled Dior’s growing fan-base of high-profile, young, rich celebrity customers with an African inspired collection at Paris Fashion Week…

The Dior spring/summer 2009 collection strode down a Paris catwalk earlier today to a tribal beat, with the models balanced on six-inch, metal “fertility goddess” heels as high as their sculptural, plaited head-dresses.

Christian Dior spring/summer 2009 collection at Paris fashion week

Christian Dior spring/summer 2009 collection at Paris fashion week

The collection was inspired by “”my memories of many trips, all over Africa” by Dior’s prolific British designer, John Galliano, and drew on earthy, sensual references.

Christian Dior spring/summer 2009 collection at Paris fashion week

Christian Dior spring/summer 2009 collection at Paris fashion week

The clothes were obviously designed to appeal to Dior’s growing fan-base of high-profile, young, rich celebrity customers, including the pop singers Katy Perry and Lily Allen and the actresses Emma Watson and Eva Green, who sat front row with the likes of former supermodel, Stephanie Seymour, the Oscar-winning, French actress Marion Cotillard and the burlesque star, Dita Von Teese.

The dresses were amongst the shortest and sexiest ever seen on a Dior catwalk; flipping flirtatiously at mid-thigh in acid-yellow, orange, fuschia and delphinium blue organza and chiffon – and conspicuously see-through; although thoughtfully accessorized with matching, knitted hot-pants.

Christian Dior spring/summer 2009 collection at Paris fashion week

Christian Dior spring/summer 2009 collection at Paris fashion week

Bustiers made of coloured python-skin, teamed with flippy micro-skirts, in bark-printed chiffon or embellished with cowrie shells, brass discs and crystals, along with corset-tops in stingray, worn with hug-me-tight black leggings, added to the exotic mood of tribal-chic.

But Galliano – ever with an eye on the cash register and mindful of the fact Dior reported a 1.54 billion Euro profit for the first half of this year – did not neglect his more conservative clients.

Christian Dior at Paris Fashion Week

Christian Dior at Paris Fashion Week

Here, he moved into a quieter ‘comfort zone’ of fashion, offering superbly-tailored, Dior ‘Bar’ jackets in fine wool; double-breasted, “flying” jackets; and belted, “lantern-sleeve” jackets; shown with crisp shorts or pretty, pleated skirts in polka-dotted or plain chiffon, in a palette of beige, grey, black, cream and soft pastels.

The evening gowns, although as diaphanous as the cocktail frocks – “but more choice in the showroom”, Galliano promised backstage – were muted in terms of colour, with long skirts of pastel and Dior grey chiffon, panelled with ribbons of lace or with tiers of pleats from thigh to knee.

But the tribal chic note resounded with the chain-mail halters, gilt-studded stingray bodices and cowrie-shell embroidered leather bustiers, worn with silver metal chokers made up of fertility goddess figurines.

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