Christian Dior will be announcing a new head designer soon, but in the meantime, John Galliano's former right-hand man Bill Gaytten, who has headed up Dior since Galliano's departure, sent out a polished, ladylike Spring 2012 collection that stayed true to the Dior woman. It was a collection that focused on getting dressed up, with cocktail dresses and gowns of chiffon, organza, and lace, intricately constructed in a perfectly-executed take on the Dior classics. There was no big, new theme; rather the collection was a lovely reminder of the brand's history and stylistic power.
- Trends: ladylike, boudoir, cocoon jackets, evening wear.
- Colors: seafoam green, red, black, white, blush.
- Key Piece: the lace and chiffon boudoir-inspired gowns for the red carpet.
- Accessories: pouch bags, strappy stilettos.
- Who Would Wear It: Ladies of the red carpet who want a truly feminine, classic look. We love the thought of Keira Knightley, Rose Huntington-Whiteley, and Emma Stone in the cocktail dresses.
Bill Gaytten Suggests John Galliano Wants to Return to Fashion; Marc Jacobs Talks with Dior Said Recently at Standstill
>> What does the future hold for John Galliano? Acting Dior and John Galliano studio head Bill Gaytten and frequent Galliano collaborator Stephen Jones say they have both talked to Galliano, and that he is recovering well.
“John knows it’s a long path, and he’s taking it very seriously,” Jones says.When asked about the prospect of Galliano returning to fashion, Gaytten coyly replies: “We’ll see. It’s not over until it’s over. I can’t say any more than that right now.”
As for Galliano's replacement at Dior, an announcement is expected in the next few weeks; WWD reports that while Marc Jacobs is still the frontrunner, talks have been tough and recently at a standstill.
>> Sidney Toledano, president and CEO of Dior, gave an update yesterday on the status of the label's designer search (Bill Gaytten, acting head of design, oversaw both the Spring 2012 Dior and John Galliano collections): "We will have news in the next few weeks."
He refused to suggest who it might be, but when Marc Jacobs's name was brought up, Toledano paused, then replied: "There is an old proverb, those who don't know, speak loudly. Those who know, stay silent." As for the company as a whole, Toledano says, "Business has been great," but declined to go into further detail.
A "source close to LVMH" recently told Vogue UK: "For Dior, it's a pretty tricky situation, as the three favourites really can't take the job. Haider Ackermann is said to be 'way too edgy' for Dior; Marc Jacobs wanted the job a lot, but LVMH wants him to stick with Vuitton; and Riccardo Tisci simply refused, saying that he was feeling more than comfortable with the job at Givenchy. So nobody's taking over so far."
>> At the Dior Fall 2011 couture show yesterday, studio director Bill Gaytten and first assistant Susanna Venegas took the finale bow. Just last week it was rumored that Gaytten may be in the running for the top job at Dior, and Gaytten, when asked backstage yesterday if he wanted to be Dior creative director, replied, “Yeah, I do,” adding: “I’m not a fool.”
However, despite the rumors and Gaytten's wishes, WWD determined that after his architecture-inspired Dior couture show yesterday (which Style.com called "a misjudged effort to impress an alien thumbprint on an aesthetic that, for better or worse, is one of the fashion industry's most clearly defined"): "If a germ of truth ever existed there [to the rumors of Gaytten taking over], this show likely squashed it."
Cathy Horyn, too, agreed that Gaytten should not be Dior's next creative director (a feeling that seems to have been held across the board): "I like Mr. Gaytten. He’s a sweetheart, but he is not a designer. The collection presented today, with modern architectural shapes as the reference (at least that explains the dumb cubes and balls embedded in the models’ hair), was a hodgepodge."
>> Despite reports late last week that LVMH was considering re-hiring John Galliano to design for his eponymous label, it's not happening. LVMH chief Bernard Arnault laid any rumors to rest on Saturday, when he said of Galliano: “He will not be working for LVMH.” Arnault added that after Galliano's arrest and dismissal from Dior and LVMH, “he didn’t have the simple politeness to contact me.”
When asked if he had been concerned about Galliano's behavior and absences from work in recent years, Sidney Toledano, CEO at both John Galliano and Christian Dior, replied: “There were concerns, and we warned him officially. I’ve talked to the lawyers for years.”
A new designer, meanwhile, is stepping into Galliano's shoes — at least at his namesake label. Bill Gaytten, who worked beside Galliano in his studio for 23 years, took a bow at the end of the Galliano Spring 2012 menswear show in Paris on Friday (which featured Galliano lookalikes) and is set to succeed Galliano at the creative helm of the collection, Toledano confirmed.
Gaytten oversaw the men's collection from conception to runway. “It’s the same job for me; I’ve been doing it for a long time,” he said. “It was a bit different because John wasn’t there.” He then confessed: “I’m dying to know what he thinks!”
Gaytten is also the studio team leader for Dior's Fall 2011 couture show next week, fueling speculation that he might be a contender to succeed Galliano at Dior, as well. Toledano declined comment on that search.
Gaytten has worked with Galliano for the past 23 years. "It's the same job for me; I've been doing it for a long time," said Gaytten, who took the final bow after the label's Spring 2012 menswear show last Friday. “It was a bit different because John wasn’t there.” The designer also admitted, "I'm dying to know what he thinks!"
>> LVMH is taking its time with the announcement of Dior's new designer, and it sounds like the decision still has yet to be made. At a recent shareholders' meeting, Bernard Arnault said the plan was to interview a number of candidates before making the call when "conviction" arrives.
But who's reportedly on the short list of candidates Bernard Arnault's advisors have submitted? Tom Ford, Hedi Slimane, Olivier Theyskens, Nicholas Ghesquiere, Alber Elbaz, Haider Ackermann, Prabal Gurung, and Sarah Burton. However, a source in Paris told WWD that LVMH is placing less importance on marquee names and focusing rather on “someone who understands Dior and fits the needs of the company.”
While Arnault, chairman of the board at Dior, is sure to get the final say on the appointee, Dior CEO Sidney Toledano, who has helmed the company since 1998, and Delphine Arnault (Bernard's daughter), deputing managing director at Dior and widely viewed as the eventual LVMH heir apparent, are also expected to weigh in. Apparently Dior execs are also receiving unsolicited designer suggestions from top editors and even shareholders.
Delphine, for her part, is seen as a champion of Riccardo Tisci; the Givenchy designer has reportedly been lobbying for the position as well, sketching out his vision for the brand. Bernard Arnault, meanwhile, is reportedly transfixed by royalty, and if Sarah Burton does dress Kate Middleton for her wedding at the end of the month (despite Burton's and the McQueen company's denials), she may pull ahead in the race. Arnault would be keen to launch the new Dior alongside the newly-married couple; Princess Diana, after all, helped catapult the brand's image in 1995 when she wore a Lady Dior bag and then in 1996 when she wore a midnight blue, bias-cut Dior gown by John Galliano to the Costume Institute Gala.
In the meantime, design duties are falling on Dior's in-house design studios, headed by Bill Gaytten, who has worked beside Galliano since the '80s. They're already creating the Cruise 2012 collection and have started in on the upcoming Fall 2011 couture collection, in preparation for its debut in July.