Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week FW 2011/12: Dior

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week just started yesterday and I was very excited for the first day because its last show was to be from the Dior House, presented in the same setting as the previous shows at the Musée Rodin. I've been expecting this moment for quite some time now, eager to see what would happen with the House after the events its former head designer, John Galliano, had been involved in a few months ago. Unfortunately in my opinion the end result was kind of disappointing: too many ideas and no coherent narrative, styling or color palette. While some of the pieces were indeed exceptionally beautiful and well-made, like the one in the picture above, the collection as a whole didn't manage to measure up to the flamboyant, colorful and edgy style of its former days or to the crazy stories concocted by its former designer for every single runway.

To be honest though, stepping into the footsteps of such a legend as John Galliano is incredibly difficult. Anything you do is measured up to his genius and to his last decade of collections and extravagant shows. It was no easy task for Bill Gaytten, a studio assistant who had been working with Galliano for the past 12 years, to take over the design of the brand on such short notice and in turbulent times. As if that hadn't been enough, his first collection was also an Haute Couture collection. The critique he is bound to receive for this collection does not refer entirely to him and his creative ideas, but in my opinion more to the comparison with everything the House of Dior has stood for during the past decade, which is very difficult to surmount. In such times, people can't just evaluate rationally, feelings also get involved somehow. Nevertheless, more cohesion and a clear idea would have helped him a lot.

The lack of coherence and maybe more important the lack of bold colors and mixes which have been so impregnated into people's minds from the last Dior or Galliano runways (which you can see here - Dior RTW Fall/Winter 2011/12, here - Dior Haute Couture SS 2011 and here - Galliano RTW Fall/Winter 2011/12) are the major downsides of this collection in my opinion. The first striking anomaly is that the color palette isn't what you would usually expect for a Fall/Winter collection - the pastel colors are too mellow and some of the mixes quite unsuccessful. The designer was very ambitious and wanted to show off too many ideas at the same time and in the end managed to present a disorganized collection that evoked more costumes and even old-fashioned 80s garments rather than Haute Couture. The collection roams around through modern architecture influences, 80s swollen coats, golden accents and even a modern interpretation of the Pierrot costume and doesn't succeed in presenting the true attractive and mysterious Dior woman.

Regarding the styling part, the makeup and the hairstyles change as quickly as the clothes. One moment you're looking at back-combed unstructured hairstyles and geometric shapes paired with neon or nude makeup, the next you're looking at wild long locks and red lips or shorter 30s inspired hairdoes and dark makeup. Moreover, the immaculate finishings associated with the House were also lacking. Despite all this mix, I have some favorite pieces, such as the less complicated golden and light colored outfits towards the middle of the show (the second styling theme I would say) or the floor-length ruffly dress in yellow hues.

This post is quite picture-heavy in order to show you the multitude of styles presented in this collection. What's your opinion on this turning point in Dior's history? What will the future of the House look like? Is there anyone out there capable to succeed and surpass John Galliano? I'm really curious to find out what your thoughts on this matter are.



Miss Molly said...

fantastic post

Sam said...

Thanks Molly :)

Couture Carrie said...

Absolutely gorgeous collection!
Love the gowns!


Maria Elisa said...

I discovered your blog just now, very beautiful and well done! I will follow you!

Have a look on my blog


Veronica said...

Strange dress, but beautiful ! If you like comment on my blog ♥

Jo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jo said...

excellent review!
though I have to say I don't believe Christian Dior could ever close, it's too big of a deal, I do fully agree that Galliano's replacement doesn't even almost fill his predecessor's shoes. there are looks that seem to channel what John might have once done, but then you look closely and it's a pretty big fail.

I really like your blog, I'm glad I found it!

Jo @

Sam said...

Thanks for the comments and the appreciations :) It's always great when you see other people think like you!

Jo: I'm so glad you liked my review :) I don't think Dior will ever close either, but I do think they're in pretty bad shape now and they need kind of a miracle designer to get them afloat. Luckily Bill Gaytten was only considered as a temporary substitute for Galliano by the management. The quest continues! And btw, I just checked out your blog as well! Really nice, I'm following!

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