Fashion, John Galliano

The Longing for Transcendence

January 27, 2011 18
Christian Dior, 2011 Spring Couture


Manolo says, not all fashion is impelled by our nostalgia for the mud, indeed, the best and most enduring fashion is inspired by our longings for transcendence.

Transcendence. We wish to move beyond ourselves, to leave behind the mundanity of our lives and be carried aloft to the higher plane, to the place where we are more beautiful, more charming, more alluring, and where we are dressed only and forever in Christian Dior, 2011 Spring Couture Collection.

Christian Dior, Spring Couture 2011


There is such the thing as transcendent nostalgia, the longing for the golden past, for the specific Periclean circumstances that would allow us to be more than ourselves, to be better than we are, to achieve the apotheosis of our essential humanity.

Dior Couture, Spring 2011


Beautiful clothing allows us to touch the hem of transcendence. What it gives is more than utility, more than adornment, more than fashion. Its true gift is the glimpse of perfection.

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”


There are 18 comments

  • deja pseu says:

    Beautifully said, Manolo.

  • Sarah S says:

    I had the same reaction to this collection.
    This is the way that I dress in my dreams.

    Except that in my dreams there are sometimes fetching little chapeaux as well.

  • Glinda says:

    I loved this collection, and Armani’s futuristic one came in a very close second.

  • wildflower says:

    I love those models’ makeup and hair, too. They look like gorgeous, confident women instead of sullen teenagers.

  • Sarah F says:

    What a beautiful mix of classic and modern aesthetics. These dresses look not only transcendent, but also quite wearable. Lovely!

  • klee says:

    Galliano makes me swoon

  • Audi says:

    This collection is simply stunning. This is how I wish I could dress every single day.

  • yevy says:

    incredibly stunning collection!!!!!!

  • Kimberly says:

    You have no idea how much these photos cheer me. After three days of shoveling snow, weeks of cold, and seeming months of being able to wear nothing other than slacks, tights, and boots, the idea of being swathed in a frothy Dior dress and shod in lovely, delicate, open-toed shoes is just HEAVEN to me.

  • raincoaster says:

    Galliano has always been a genius, but now he’s a genius in his prime. That second dress is one of the most beautiful ever created.

  • Toby Wollin says:

    For those of us who DO a bit of toiling in the mud (along with my chickens and turkeys and other creatures who inhabit our ‘farmette’), it might seem that Galliano’s vision has no possible connection whatsoever. One of the lessons of Galliano is this: To everything and every activity, there is appropriate dress, and all of us have the right and responsibility to aspire to drop-dead, gorgeous, dizzying, heart-stopping, beauty through the application of fabric, color, and making the effort. The value of putting a bit of work into looking the very best one can every…single…day cannot be underestimated.

  • Little Red says:

    This Dior collection is just stunning. I want it all.

    • Do I sense some platonic reference in this nostalgia for transcendence, a remote memory of the realm of ideas, long forgotten since we crossed the Styx?
      Remarkable coincidence, I just committed a small piece on a related topic: what fashion for Aristotelian supralunar heaven? The way I see it, garments from beyond the moon should display the same geometric simplicity the characterize heavenly motions. There’s a good example in recent Calvin Klein ads.
      It’s short and it’s here:
      I would be honored to have you read a couple of lines, O purveyor of the finest humor, o great mawlawi of culture stuff, o Manolo-sama, the shoe-sensei of us all…
      (ok, I’m trying too much. But be warned, it contains a couple of bad words.)

  • Phyllis says:

    The thing I really love about fashion is that its high art – really let’s admit to ourselves that haute couture creates works of art that rank right up there with Michelangelo’s David – and its low art, a global commodity sold as aggressively as toner cartridges. I have to say too that I have yet to find anyone who has not expressed astonishment at the sight of these clothes. Even people I know who are normally impervious to beauty are in awe when they see this collection. That doesn’t happen very often in any art form.

  • I loved this collection, and Armani’s futuristic one came in a very close second.