Jul 1, 2007
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60th birthday for Dior, 20 for Lacroix

Jul 1, 2007

PARIS, July 1, 2007 (AFP) - The prestigious fashion house of Christian Dior is celebrating its 60th birthday this week with a gala evening in the Orangerie at the chateau of Versailles, while Christian Lacroix, once the new kid on the block in haute couture, is marking his 20th. Both events are vying for the limelight in the catwalk shows beginning on Monday, July 2nd for next autumn-winter.

Creation of John Galliano for Christian Dior haute couture spring-summer in Paris - Photo : François Guillot/AFP

Meanwhile the Italian designer Valentino, who has shown in Paris for the past seventeen years, is returning to Rome where he can be assured of undivided media attention to celebrate his forty-five years in fashion with a gala for the glitterati and a major retrospective of his work.

Other absentees will be Emanuel Ungaro, Jean-Louis Scherrer, Adeline Andre and Dominique Sirop.

The house of Scherrer is once again undergoing an upheaval with the shock announcement only days ago by Stephane Rolland, in charge of its couture, that he is leaving to create his own house. He is presenting a couture line under his own name on the sidelines of the official programme.

Adeline Andre told AFP she has been far too busy designing costumes for two ballets to prepare a show, while Dominique Sirop's assistants said he prefers to present his collections abroad.

So this season, only six houses which are fully paid-up members of the elite "haute couture" circle will be mounting catwalk shows : apart from Dior, where John Galliano is also celebrating his 10th year at the helm, and Lacroix, they are Jean-Paul Gaultier, Givenchy and Franck Sorbier.

Creation of Christian Lacroix haute couture spring-summer 2007 in Paris - Photo : François Guillot/AFP

To compensate for the dwindling number qualifying as haute couturiers, the French fashion federation has widened its invitations to designers of luxury ready-to-wear or couture which does not meet the stringent criteria to obtain official designation.

These now account for seventeen out of the twenty-three presentations over the four-day season. The idea is to give young designers, many of them French, an opportunity to showcase their work outside the overcrowded ready-to-wear calendar.

There are also the regular guests from abroad, Giorgio Armani, the Lebanese Elie Saab and George Chakra, and South Africa's Gain Rajah, and for the first time this season a Romanian-born German, Udo Edling. Born in Transylvania, the forty-one year old designer who trained in Frankfurt has worked with Kenzo and Montana.

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