Paris, and the start of couture. Jessica Alba watched from the Front Row at Dior in a strapless dress, alongside sexy Lou Doillon and Lily Cole. Set in the gardens of the Musee de Rodin, surrounded by topiary hedges cut into pyramids, the catwalk and audience were housed inside a giant transparent tent, like a greenhouse, appropriate really, as the collection itself was to be a romantic garden of flowers.
Dior devotees will know that the house’s iconic flower is the parrot tulip. The press release stated that M. Galliano wanted ‘to bring a bold new bloom into the salon,’ and to that end, the backdrop image for the catwalk was a bouquet of bold orange parrot tulips.
Strapless dresses with short skirts were short, yet full and flowing – resembling the upside-down head of a tulip. The light and airy fabrics – organza, silk, tulle – moved like trembling petals, and some were hand-painted with splashy posies. Even the tight-waisted jackets were given a softer feel – in mohair or laser-cut felt. And like a garden in Spring, the palette was a riot of colour – from bold violets and oranges to iris blue, pale rose pink and grassy green.
The collection was all about colour and print – no jewellery! The dresses were crying out for a bauble or two. Had there been an argument backstage about whether the dresses and prints could stand alone without jewellery?
And of course, the grand finale of the show was the appearance of the designer himself, looking like an Edwardian lady; with finger waved ‘Marcel’ curls in his hair –and a straw boater draped with a tulle veil. Super-svelte, M.Galliano had abandoned head-to-toe black, instead choosing a pale jacket belted over beige striped linen trousers, rolled up to the ankle to reveal silver correspondents shoes. With his little pencil moustache clashing with the carefully groomed waves, it was a mash up of the sexes – very Humphrey Bogart in 'Death in Venice'.
But Jessica Alba stole the show. Sitting in the FROW in a white strapless rose print dress, she was undeniably the prettiest flower in the garden.