Christian Dior Fall 2011 Review

Prada Fall 2011 runway

Photos: Imaxtree

Looks from the Dior Fall 2011 collection

SHOW: Christian Dior (See the full runway collection.)

HAIR: Orlando Pita

MAKE UP: Pat McGrath

ACCESSORIES: High lace-up stiletto boots, oversize Lady Dior handbags in equestrian leathers

OVERALL TAKEAWAY: The show—and the house—must go on.

The Christian Dior collection opened with a touching speech from Sidney Toledano, chief executive of Dior. It was part apology, part eulogy––and an odd start for what remains one of the most hotly anticipated shows of the week.

What the departed John Galliano had started, the Dior ateliers finished off. Indeed, it was they who took the bow at the end of the catwalk show, accepting the applause for a dandy-inspired collection of jewel-tone velvets, fluttery chiffon dresses and lots and lots of accessories. They occasionally overloaded outfits, in the way a hefty leather Lady Dior tote can when a model is also negotiating a puff-waist jacket, cape, cavalier hat and seven-inch platforms. Otherwise, the accessories were an underline of the Dior house style.

That was the gist of Toledano's speech which, while expressing admiration for Galliano's talent and condemnation for the anti-Semitic views he expressed, made the point that Dior would always be bigger than the designers that helm it. That the ombre chiffons in eighteenth-century pastels would feel like Galliano's swan-song was unavoidable—but at the same time, they have become part of the lexicon of Dior. This was less about demonstrating new fashion and more about demonstrating that Dior was still alive and well. The groundswell of applause at the end indicated the design house may just have achieved that goal.