The home of couture, this February, Paris played host to the costliest collections in the world. Where a dress can routinely leave you £50,000 out of pocket, the question about where to place couture in a society still reeling from the effects of recession was put on hold. If anyone had business jitters, they kept them well hidden.
Many designers went to their ‘go-to’ moves, whilst others tried something different. Elie Saab showcased gowns that were good to go for the Oscars, and Gaultier took fashion editors on a sartorial voyage of South America. Valentino worked with shades of neon, in addition to producing its standard-wear Valentino favourites for its loyal clientele.
Chanel’s obsession this year was the colour silver, which was threaded throughout the entire collection, pepping up delicate dresses and ice-cream coloured tweed suits.
But the spotlight of the season fell on Dior. John Galliano, never afraid to display his flair for the dramatic, went with an equestrian-themed collection, with plenty of riding crops and lace veils. The dressage theme then made way for a series of stunning gowns decorated with bows and draping detail.
Dior’s stable of model talent included Chanel Iman, Karlie Kloss, Kasia Struss and Lindsay Ellingson. Always prepared to get involved in the runway action himself, Galliano even appeared in full riding costume, got down on bended knee and kissed Karlie Kloss’ hand to rapturous applause. That grand gesture alone ensured that Dior was the show of the season.
Coinciding with recent headlines that Britain is officially emerging from the longest recession in living memory, this array of heaven-sent fashion has shown that the industry is finally getting its mojo back. Recovery is about confidence as much as the balance sheet and 2010 has got off to a supremely confident start. Where couture leads, ready-to-wear follows and this year couture is very firmly back in the saddle.