Dior Couture’s First Show Without Galliano Fails to Impress

For all of the negative things he may be, talented designer is the one positive thing no one could ever deny John Galliano. If you agree with fashion critics on the latest Dior couture collection, getting rid of someone with personal shortcomings is easy, when that person is a talented designer replacing their vision is substantially more difficult.

Bernard Arnault has made it clear in no uncertain terms that LVMH won’t be hiring Galliano back, but if the reaction from critics to the Fall/Winter 2011 Couture collection is any indication, they have a long way to go in finding a replacement who can match Galliano’s creative abilities.

Bill Gaytten is a long time Galliano assistant whose attempt at menswear for the John Galliano label was applauded for being more wearable than Galliano’s more flamboyant designs. Giorgio Armani recently sniped at Prada for their more outrageous menswear designs, and Vogue Italia editor Franca Sozzani is on record with her opposition to men dressing as “fashionistas,” so less experimental menswear designs that stand out for quality tailoring and fit rather than bold colors, patterns or shapes have their fans.

Unfortunately Gayten’s cutting skills didn’t transfer to the couture collection. If we had to come up with a theme, it would be Celestial Carnival – part futuristic fashion victim, part circus barker. Outer orbit prints and shapes collided with cotton candy colors, and imprecise ruffles and folds in looks that were heavy on folly, but never quite made it to the fantasy that Galliano so often delivered.

“I’ve known Mr. Gaytten for a decade. I met him in the Dior studio with Mr. Galliano and Steven Robinson, a close collaborator of Mr. Galliano’s for many years, who oversaw virtually every detail of the collections… I like Mr. Gaytten. He’s a sweetheart, but he is not a designer.

The collection presented Monday, with modern architectural shapes as the reference (at least that explains the dumb cubes and balls embedded in the models’ hair), was a hodgepodge… That immaculate Dior polish was not evident. Some long flowing dresses in hand-painted silk looked contemporary enough, but for the most part the clothes looked like over-bright costumes.” – Cathy Horyn {On the Runway/NY Times}

Susanna Venegas and Bill Gaytten at the end of the Fall 2011 Dior Couture show

In other words, it doesn’t look like Gaytten will be Dior’s Sarah Burton (read: a right hand (wo)man who can effectively expand a creative vision when the visionary unexpectedly leaves).

“Then came Karlie Kloss, dressed as a Pierrot, sad clown all alone in the spotlight as the soundtrack failed and glitter showered down. But the stardust missed her by this much. And that felt like some kind of crazy cosmic metaphor.” – Tim Blanks {Style.com}

 






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