Posts Tagged ‘John Galliano’

Last Wednesday, the final leg of fashion week began in Paris. Already, there have been amazing showings, particularly from Balenciaga and Haider Ackermann. There are still many more highly anticipated shows to come (Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Givenchy, to name a few).

Every fashion week, designers make decisions on how to best showcase their collections, and at times those choices are made because of costs and budgets. Fashion shows including the full production of music, runways and large seating areas, are the most expensive. Established, aka wealthy fashion houses, almost always utilize this option because it allows more room for press, editors and buyers. Other show options include presentations or photo shoots.

The whole point of having a fashion show is not only to showcase the garments, but also to create or help pronounce brand identity through music and décor. Everything about the fashion show is to make the collection and brand look as appealing as possible. With that in mind, many designers navigate safe water in an attempt to either present a sober idea in a clean, concise show. However, there have always been designers who believe in showmanship.

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Christian Dior showed at Paris Haute Couture Week this past Wednesday afternoon, and John Galliano was nowhere in sight. Galliano, former creative director, was fired by Dior after 14 years for his anti-Semitic remarks, caught on video, in a Paris bar. Bill Gaytten, who’s been on the design team at Dior for 23 years and is head of the label’s studio, was the man who took a bow at the end of the show, along with his assistant, Susan Venegas. The collection was complete with blue giraffe prints, zebra stripes, layers upon layers of chiffon, square-shaped sequins, and all things Easter-colored. It was one of the most incoherent haute couture collections I’ve seen.

But I’m not saying cohesion should be as literal as Alexandre Vauthier’s haute couture collection, which used only two shades of red. With the exception of one ivory dress complete with what looks like a football player’s shoulder pad, but bedazzled with fine silver and gems, Vauthier’s collection featured monochromatic looks in red. At least the ladies look à la femme fatale.

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I would be performing a disservice if I did not mention the disaster that was the Dior Fall Couture 2011 show. If you haven’t read any of the harsh reviews, let’s just say the show was an embarrassment to the Christian Dior brand. In the wake of John Galliano’s trial for racist slurs, his studio director Bill Gaytten and first assistant Susanna Venegas took the reigns to imitate Galliano’s haute refined visions.

That was the first mistake; faking Galliano’s signature style is an impossible task. Gaytten and Venegas tried to imitate Galliano’s style and, instead, yielded cartoonish clown-like results. I personally felt like I was watching a Cirque Du Soleil runway show, rather than Dior couture. There was simply too much. There were art deco prints mixed with cotton candy-like tulle and geometric hairpieces, not to mention the couture hair and makeup. Right when I thought my eyes had seen enough, caftans popped up in the middle of the show. This transitioned into ball gowns. It was a mess.

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Since the debut of Haider Ackermann’s self-titled line in 2001, the designer has made quite the impact on the fashion world. He famously used to clean toilets and is now one of the most regarded designers of our time. If you haven’t heard of him, don’t be ashamed. Ackermann avoids press, and isn’t exactly mainstream.

His precise draping and avant-garde aesthetic is simply unique. In the past year, Ackermann’s line transformed him into the designer of the moment. His Fall 2011 line was wildly noted as brilliant; both Marc Jacobs and Karl Lagerfeld sent him flowers to congratulate him.  The line was filled with draped leather jackets, impeccably hemmed trousers and extreme hair and makeup. His jackets often seem impossible to put on, but Ackermann specifically twists and manipulates his clothing to create this allusion. Some say his line is too narrow, but I praise his ability to master a single silhouette.

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It’s now been a month since John Galliano was first in the news for verbally assaulting a couple at a Paris café. As soon as the story broke, he was fired as creative director at Dior. After years at the top of the fashion ladder with no scandals to speak of, he was part of a media circus completely unrelated to his abilities as a designer. (more…)