Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Dior Show Will Go On

Photo credit: NY Times - Chris Moore/Karl Prouse
Last Friday, the Dior runway show at Paris Fashion Week went on as planned. Stained by recent events surrounding the dismissal of former creative director John Galliano, Dior's decision to present their Fall/Winter 2011 collection was the right choice. Many journalists who attended the Paris show said the atmosphere was surreal and very emotional. Although the collection was unmistakably Galliano, it showed that Dior is much bigger than just one man. At the end of the show, the entire atelier team in their white coats lined up at the end of the runway, while the audience applauded them. Affectionately acknowledged as the “petites mains” or little hands, the show was truly a tribute to them. In fact, they were the ones who finished the collection and put the clothes on the runway.

It's amazing how fast a creative genius such as Galliano has fallen from stardom. Although so much has happened in only a very short time, let me try and recap the main events that have taken Galliano back to where he first started. First, Galliano was arrested for alleged assault and making anti-Semitic remarks after a late-night drinking session at a bar in Paris. Immediately thereafter Dior suspended him pending an inquiry into the allegations. Then the British newspaper The Sun released a video showing Galliano making anti-Semitic statements and declaring "I love Hitler" while clearly intoxicated. As the whole world watched the video in disbelieve, Natalie Portman released a statement saying, "I am deeply shocked and disgusted by the video...I will not be associated with Mr. Galliano in any way." Franca Sozzani from Vogue Italia is one of the few who came to the defense of Galliano and said, "While I condemn John's words, I am frightened by how quick these young people were to try to gain notoriety or money while destroying the image of a genius in the process". Next, Dior officially fired Galliano as the creative director, the position he had held since 1996. Galliano, who had remained silent up until this point, finally released a statement publicly apologizing and vowed to seek help.

Galliano's public apology was the right step, but he has a long road ahead of him before he can return to fashion. On the other hand, this is just a bump in the road for Dior. There is already so much speculation about who will replace Galliano. So far the most likely candidates are Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy and Alber Elbaz of Lanvin. However, Dior has not released any kind of statement confirming the next creative director. Once they do, all the bad associations with Galliano will be forgotten and Dior will shine again. I’m looking forward to the next phase of Dior and the upcoming Spring/Summer 2012 collection. As the fashion world holds it's breath in anticipation, so will I.

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