Dior’s Disastrous Couture Showing
It’s hard to imagine the anxiety riddled team at Christian Dior couture yesterday, whose luxurious, uber-expensive couture gowns walked the runway of Paris’ biannual couture week shows sans troubled designer John Galliano for the first time in 15 years. Galliano was famously fired from the luxe label in April when accusations (and video evidence) of abusive, anti-semitic and illegal rantings surfaced) with his right-hand man Bill Gaytten stepping in as the labels head designer. But the transition has been anything but smooth sailing – and yesterdays collection was a painful reminder of the beleaguered label’s troubles.
Gaytten took some pretty hard hits from heavies such as illustrious Times critic Cathy Horyn, who wrote that Gaytten is a great tailor and pattern cutter, but “he is not a designer.” And the International Herald Tribune‘s Suzy Menkes who went even further by writing, “This carnival of a show looked like a bunch of partygoers had done a witty, wacky take on Dior extravaganzas.” Assuming that Dior management was using the show as a test for Gaytten, WWD also scathingly wrote:
If a germ of truth ever existed there, this show likely squashed it. And perhaps unfairly. This was not about an in-house designer or designing partners attempting can-do reinvention. Rather, it telegraphed interim status, and in haute couture, interim doesn’t work.
Gaytten, for his part, stayed true to Galliano in many regards, including the bold makeup and the models runway walk – but unfortunately lacked a solid vision. Or at least a solid interpretation of that vision.
So is this couture catastrophe just an example of too many cooks in the kitchen? Rumors abound that Dior management was heavily involved in the collection as well – which could very well impede the process of a designer attempting a re-imagining of an icon. Time will tell, but things don’t look good for Gaytten… or Dior.