What is going on inside Christian Dior’s directive remains a mystery, no one is really sure about it. But it has been a long time since John Galliano’s departure and Bill Gaytten’s appointment as a temporary Creative Director. And after Jil Sander’s shakeup, everybody is still wondering what is next for the French house. Aside from all that unnecessary drama inside one of the most legendary houses, Gaytten gave us once again a beautiful collection full of luxurious and safe pieces.
Bill Gaytten for Christian Dior was very… “Christian Dior,” with another run of modern versions of the legendary “New Look” that made the couturier a household name and a part of fashion history. There was nothing new about it, just beautiful and glamorous pieces with a retro vibe worthy of the Hollywood golden age and its starlets, but with a John Galliano twist, making it very clear who is the real face behind contemporary Christian Dior.
Every time a Christian Dior by Bill Gaytten collection is shown it is inevitable to see Galliano’s aesthetic as the heart of it, but without that dazzling feeling of avant-guardism, spectacle, freshness, and rebellious luxury. The wow factor is certainly missing but the prettiness – thank god – is not. There were lavish and beautiful wrapped jackets and sweaters, wide skirts, flowing pleated dresses, fur coats, decadent embellishment, and ethereal ensembles with hardcore hints of leather; the evening gowns were as luxurious, ravishing, and alluring as usual, everything of course with cinched waists, the modern take on 1947’s new look.
It was a beautiful and very salable collection full of magnificent and expensive pieces, but with everything that is going on behind closed doors it is difficult to take this as seriously as it should be taken, especially knowing that all of this is part of a temporary solution while they find a suitable replacement for the brilliant Galliano. The brand is going through hard times, really tough times, because there are very big shoes to fill, and taking this as a “meanwhile” collection is fine, but certainly not as a definitive one.
If they are auditioning Bill Gaytten for the most coveted job in fashion, after several collections he has made it very clear that he is not going for the breathtaking wow factor but the commercial/pretty/red-carpet-specialist one, which seems an appropriate choice if we are talking only about business, but if Galliano and his jaw-dropping collections were working, why risk such a change? The Theyskens to Copping switch was – sadly –necessary because of the low sales, and McQueen to Burton has worked because of her softer and more feminine but still groundbreaking take on the avant-guard house, but is this what the Dior House needs? Probably not, though only time will tell.
In the end there is an important heritage to protect and everybody is – at least I am – anxious to see Galliano’s big comeback in a big Britney-like moment; he needs to be seen as what he is, an incredibly brilliant and talented designer who changed the course of fashion forever, and nothing more. We miss you John Galliano.
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