Sunday, March 30, 2008

Crocodile Rock

John Galliano

John Galliano (British, born Gibraltar, 1960) for Christian Dior (French, founded 1947). Dress, spring/summer 2003. Red silk tulle with crocodile appliqué. Gift of Christian Dior Couture, 2003 (2003.438).

John Galliano’s conflations of diverse cultures and historic periods are the most fevered and unexpected of any contemporary designer. In this garment, from his ready-to-wear collection at Christian Dior, Galliano appears to cite the late 1920s, when the knee-baring chemise was transitioning into the bias cut languor of the 1930s. In addition, he seems to have reprised the panniered, or side-hooped, shapes of the period’s robes de style, and the handkerchief hems favored for evening dresses of the time. In his use of silk tulle, a weightless textile of great elasticity, Galliano suggests the phenomenon of the planarity of the 1920s silhouette beginning to give way to more body-cleaving styles. The designer draped the cloth with the angled seaming characteristic of bias cuts and then applied shaped platelets of leather in a crocodile-like pattern to convey the impression of reptilian skins cobbled together. In its Amazonian exoticism and Jazz Age glamour, the dress might have costumed Josephine Baker.

Comments (26)

  1. The Monitor Says:

    Despite my passion for fashion, I am always reluctant to refer to fashion as Art. I find myself almost always making an exception with John Galliano, however. His couture creations are something on another level altogether and it’s hard to believe that the “croc” dress was from the ready to wear collection. Has anyone seen his Spring 2008 couture collection? I was so blown away by it, I had to write about it in my blog, I think it’s safe to say that when you have something of his on, whether couture or rtw, you will not look like anyone else.

  2. Haley Wood Says:

    There is clearly something primal about this dress the texture of the fabric seems to have its own life. I think the flounces at the bottom contrast the fitted almost sculpted look of the top to create a very animalistic look. I think the wearer of this dress would not look out of place on the streets of New York or in the Amizon Jungle. I think that Texture and the organic feel of the whole piece is what gives it this quality.

  3. david glenn Says:

    blown away to the swamp…

  4. Brad Smith Says:

    I completely disagree with the central them, that fashion is more accessible than art. There are very few men in this exhibit, and in general men aren’t interested in fashion, other than to decide what to buy and wear. However, every male I know is ready with an opinion of contemporary art, and most of them enjoy attending museums, both historical and contemporary, and wish to own art to the extent of their budget.

  5. Amy K Says:

    What fascinates me the most about seeing these in person here today is getting a better understanding of the artist’s eye…the designer…as I view these pieces. Indeed, this piece featured today is quite Baker-esque. I am just trying to figure out in my head how to accessorize such a dress!

  6. thalia garcia Says:

    they are cute, I wish I could wear them!

    (written by 7 year old thalia, she loves the exhibit!!!!)

  7. Justin Says:

    I remember not being particularly fond of this dress when it was shown on the runway. I can’t really place my finger on why, but it looked much better in it’s Haute Couture incarnation (a constant with Galliano is his industrialization of pieces, details and handwork shown in his couture collections for ready to wear). In that collection it was black, a bit longer and more elaborately draped. I would also assume that since it was couture, the leather used was genuine crocodile.

    My opinion of this dress changed the moment I saw it in person though. Something about being able to see the intricate “crocodile” pattern made with the leather pieces up close made me appreciate it more. It could also have to do with seeing it without the runway styling which, again, was much more impressive in the couture collection that this piece originated in.

  8. Anita Says:

    The Monitor (sorry, I don’t know your name), I think Haute Couture is Art. Not every pieces of Haute Couture but some works are so amazing they’re definitely masterpieces. John Galliano is one of the best, he creates spectacular dresses like this one and he’s very well inspired. And we agree on that point I guess :)

    I didn’t see this dress during a defile but I tend to say like Justin. The runway styling is an important thing. It’s like theater, and about atmosphere. Although I’d love to see this dress and the work on it from a closer angle!

  9. Laurie Aron Says:

    Even though this is not a personal favorite of mine, this dress perfectly illustrated the fascination and pull of John Galliano’s creativity–his ability to create his own fancy dress fantasy world by quoting from so many previous eras simultaneously while making something absolutely new.

  10. Riley Says:

    This is a beautiful piece and I have been waiting a long time to comment on it. They should have some more fashions on this site. There aren’t enough. That ould be really cool.

  11. Richard Womack Says:

    A touch of Oldenburg(Pop art)?

  12. BKC Says:

    I enjoy the interesting details put into this garment: the handkerchief bottom, the layers around the hip area and the fabrics used. Its very appealing to the eye and does seem like a work of art.

  13. Tara Says:

    This dress has the aesthetic appeal of a salsa dancer with the ruffles and texture!! The line, shape and color of this dress just gives it attitude and lends to the formal qualities. John Galliano is known for his flirty and flamboyant designs which are indeed art pieces. In his couture work he likes to merge the past, present and future and keep the soft femininity, which is obvious to me in this dress. It is something I could have worn in the 60’s and I would definitely wear it now!!

  14. MICKEY Says:

    i love it its Beauuuuuuutiful keep workin on more

  15. Michelle Says:

    Love the silhouette, but not sure about the fabric….

  16. kaydee Says:

    This dress is so prettyyy! i love it! its like so bangin =]=]

  17. Austin Says:

    i would stick this on my girlfriend katelin any day

  18. hannah Says:

    i think that the dress looks like a red snake skin. it would be a strange fashion statement.

  19. Dreamer Says:

    The dress is just stunning. I am so glad I came here to see it.

  20. missmamei Says:

    a wonderful display of talent. But doesn’t appeal to my personal tastes.

  21. Claudia Says:

    that was very intresting i can’t say i liked it.

  22. Livvy Says:

    HOW CAN YOU KILL CROCODILES LIKE THAT????You people make me sick.

  23. tengomono Says:

    galliano rocks!

  24. Olaf P Henry Says:

    I think this piece of material is a work of art made by the rock n’ roll kings!!!! Not only does it express the noted fashion icon pattern on many heels and bags!! It also does some justice to the highly over rated and sickening colour of hot pink! My overview of this piece is that it may be a little too done up. If you want to go bold in fashion choice this is the piece for you (Geneva)!!! This artist went wayy out and I truly appreciate their conduct to their true spirits.

    Much Abliged ;)
    Olaf P Henry

  25. Jessica Lemieux Says:

    This dress is awesome !
    how many does it cost?
    Call me when it will be on sale!

    Lmx 311.

  26. nick nolte Says:


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