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Oh, Baby!

This story first appeared in the February 26, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Baby Jane Holzer, that is. She was one of the inspirations for John Galliano’s very pretty fall collection for Christian Dior, which skillfully mixed glamour and restraint. The big hair and ladylike accessories were all part of the fun. Here, a look that would have delighted Holzer in the Sixties, a flared fur coat, worn with short leather gloves and a top-handle bag.

Christian Dior: And here’s to you, Mr. Galliano — for proving so delightfully what many showgoers this season suspected, hoped for, longed for, that pared-down and pretty (read: wearable) has more range than a sober sheath. Of course, in John Galliano’s world, range doesn’t materialize out of nowhere. “I’m always looking for heroines who make me dream,” he said. For fall, he found such gals in Baby Jane Holzer, Raquel Welch and the most shameless future mother-in-law ever, Mrs. Robinson, whose anthem played throughout much of his lineup. They inspired a Christian Dior collection Galliano called “pure glamour,” one that worked the joyful, high-voltage side of restraint to near perfection.

Suits? Dior’s got them in bright orange, red, lime green, purple and fuchsia in couture-worthy silks and exotic skins, often worn under the shade of Stephen Jones’ giddily demonstrative hats. And just when you wondered what a girl’s supposed to don for quieter moments, out came a perfect double-breasted tweed coat and neat patent-trimmed suit in an oversize glen plaid. There were furs like your momma had, only chicer, and simply cut dresses, the better to show off a splashy print, flashy embroideries or a flurry of orange feathers tickling the knees. As for evening, guess what? The Oscars notwithstanding, it turns out that it’s not illegal to design or wear a gown in a color other than red.

Retro? Yes, in a fabulously big hair, thick eyelash, matchy-match accessories kind of way. That part’s the dream that gets Galliano going. The reality — polished, upbeat clothes for women who don’t sleep in jumbo rollers under a net — is even better.

Photos By: Delphine Achard, Stephane Feugere and Giovanni Giannoni


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