Show goes on without flamboyant designer John Galliano.
PARIS — With the swishing of model Karlie Kloss’ cashmere cloak on the runway, the Dior fashion house proved Friday that the show will go on, even without its flamboyant designer of nearly 15 years, John Galliano, who was dismissed from the $28 billion luxury brand earlier in the week.
The Rodin Museum was packed with more than 1,500 people, and the front row was star-studded, but not as much as usual. Celebrity guests included French actress Melanie Laurent (“Inglourious Basterds”), model Natalia Vodianova and Leigh Lezark, one-half of DJ duo the Misshapes. The brand’s best shoppers didn’t stay away; they filed in toting their quilted, top-handle Lady Dior handbags.
Christian Dior executive Sidney Toledano made a statement on the runway before the show, calling the events of the last week “a terrible and wrenching ordeal,” and praising “les petites mains” in the atelier who pressed on to finish the collection.
The collection was inspired by “dandyism of the English romantic poets,” according to show notes, which translated into velvet knickers and waistcoats, lace bloomers, short taffeta skirts, boxy tweed jackets, ruffled blouses and diaphanous empire gowns. It was an average collection for the house. Nothing surprising.
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After the last model stepped out, it would normally have been Galliano’s big moment. More than any other designer, he relished his runway bow as an opportunity to dress up in an outlandish costume of his own, strike a pose and strut all the way down the runway — always with bodyguards at his side. (Most designers peek out from backstage and wave.)
Only this season, there wasn’t a spotlight shining on an astronaut, swashbuckling pirate or Napoleon costume. Instead, les petites mains — “the little hands” from Dior atelier’s design team — came out to a roaring standing ovation.
On Wednesday, Galliano was ordered to stand trial in a French criminal court over alleged racial insults. He had been arrested in a Paris bar Feb. 24 and accused of hurling anti-Semitic insults in an alleged violation of French law. Two days later, another woman came forward with a similar complaint. And on Monday, video began surfacing on the Internet apparently showing an earlier incident involving Galliano, who appears to be drunk, making statements such as “I love Hitler.” In the meantime, the designer, who has issued a statement of apology but has denied the claims, has left France for a rehabilitation facility, presumably for alcohol addiction.
Dior initially suspended Galliano, but when video surfaced, termination procedures moved swiftly.
Possible successors for the label could include Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci and relative unknown Haider Ackermann. Dior has declined to comment on the next chapter.