Mutant Sci-fi Dahlias: The 2006 Christian Dior Paris Runway Show




You know, I get that high fashion — Paris runway-show high fashion in particular — is not about making clothes that people will wear. It’s an art form that works in textiles and is displayed on human models… but other than that, it bears no real relation to what people might wear so they’ll look good and won’t be naked. And it’s not supposed to. It’s an art form. I get that. That’s fine.

But good Lord and butter.

There’s a slideshow of the Christian Dior 2006 Paris runway show that is rendering me nearly speechless in both wonder and hilarity. The outfits look like ideas that the costume designer for Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace considered and then rejected as being too over-the-top. They look like what the original Star Trek series was going for with their costume design and only failed to achieve because of their low budget. I have a friend who’s planning to attend the WorldCon sci-fic convention Masquerade in a homemade knockoff of these designs… which I think pretty much says it all.

I’m particularly struck by how unhappy the models look. Of course, runway models always look unhappy. But in the photos of this show’s most extreme excesses, they don’t just look bored and impassive and hungry like they always do. They look miserable. They look actively embarrassed to be there. They look like they wish they were anywhere else in the world. Which, considering that they’re on the runway of the Paris show exhibiting the Christian Dior collection and are therefore pretty much at the pinnacle of their career, is a little odd when you think about it.

What I really like about the slideshow is the ebb and flow of it. The wild flights of absurdity periodically settle down into stretches of something resembling beauty and grace, with clothes that I can actually almost imagine wearing to a fancy party, or to something other than the Saint Stupid’s Day parade, anyway. If I were six feet tall and a hundred pounds, that is.

But then it blossoms again, like a dahlia contaminated by nuclear waste that’s been dormant through the winter, and is now blooming dementedly and attempting to pollinate with peacocks and landscaping equipment. And you remember: Oh, yeah. This guy is insane.

I actually sort of love it.

BTW, thanks to Ruth for pointing this… thing out to me. Good luck with the costume at the Con, and be sure to take pictures!

Mutant Sci-fi Dahlias: The 2006 Christian Dior Paris Runway Show
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8 thoughts on “Mutant Sci-fi Dahlias: The 2006 Christian Dior Paris Runway Show

  1. 1

    I’m wondering how small children would react to meeting these creatures outside of Disneyland. My guess is that, when something this large and surreal crosses a child’s landscape, s/he goes on the attitude they’re projecting. In that case, these creatures would probably frighten them terribly.

  2. 2

    My first reaction to these, after falling out of my chair laughing when seeing them linked from Teresa Nielsen Hayden’s weblog, Making Light, was that these just BELONG at a Worldcon masquerade – the combination of paying attention to the world and enjoying great frivolity being hallmarks of what I’ve encountered by way of science fiction fandom. It should be a hoot.
    But do I play it up as the stalking Parisian haut-couture model, or just get down and say “booga!” ? Bill’s probably right, on anyone’s reaction to the large and surreal. I’ll go with the model’s stalk-strut. Ironically enough, Worldcon is in Anaheim this year, just about across the street from Disneyland.

  3. 3

    Do the model runway walk, Ruth! As the models know, it’s best not to acknowledge that you are wearing an outfit that looks like Harlequin peeing behind a hedge.

  4. 4

    I love the clothes/costumes/fiber art… hate the face and makeup, which is the “sad doll” motif I have had it up to here with. From the neck down, the clothes insinute power and freaky energy, from the neck up, it’s infantile. hate that! i love these colors,though. which one is your friend knocking off?

  5. 5

    Is it just me, or did anyone else notice that a bunch of the models are wearing the Glove of Myhnegon?
    I thought that Buffy and the Scoobies destroyed it after Gwendolyn Post died.

  6. 6

    Hi Susie – I’m likely doing one of the ones with the huge right-arm “armor” early in the slideshow, though I like the big blue dress with the sun on it, too. (you looked at the whole slideshow, with the designer coming on at the end for his bow in a space-suit, right?)
    I just can’t bring myself to do the wretched sad doll makeup, for one thing I’m so two-or-three times what a twig-model weighs it just. wouldn’t. Do. Well, that and I’m one of those garden-variety late-70s dykes who doesn’t know from makeup, and am much too cheerful even in depressed moments to pull off that look with a straight face (so to speak). Advice?

  7. 7

    You mght try the Bladerunner/Zorro/raccoon makeup that they do in the middle of the Dior show (slides 22-29), the kind with the solid black band over the eyes. It’d be less depressing than the sad doll crap, and still at least somewhat authentic. And it’d make you look like a replicant, which is always cool.
    -“Is it just me, or did anyone else notice that a bunch of the models are wearing the Glove of Myhnegon?”
    Oh, my God! That’s where I’ve seen that look before! Boy, you know things in the fashion world are freaky when they’re stealing ideas from Buffy the Vampire Slayer — especially since they had just about zero costume budget.

  8. 8

    I’ve have not laughed so much at anything for a long, LONG time.
    Suggested Slogans for this year’s line:
    Christian Dior. Resistance is Futile.
    Christian Dior. Too Bad You Won’t Live. But Then Again, Who Does?
    Christian Dior. You’re Next! You’re Next!
    Christian Dior. Q’aplaH!
    …And of course the models look desperately miserable. They are models. They always look miserable when they’re having a good time…
    Oh dear.
    Bed now. Must sleep. Must sleep…

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