Analysis: Dropping Galliano lets Dior open new chapter

Thu Mar 3, 2011 4:47pm EST
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By Astrid Wendlandt

PARIS (Reuters) - John Galliano's alleged anti-Semitic insults may have tarnished his employer Dior, but the fashion house's sacking of its star designer now offers it the opportunity to breathe fresh life into the brand.

Behind the scenes, Dior is telling industry watchers it is glad Galliano is gone, as it wanted to move away from his theatrical style and embrace a more subtle and refined elegance to better reflects post-economic crisis society.

"This could be a driver for positive change, which is what Dior itself was looking for," said luxury goods analyst Davide Vimercati at UniCredit.

Dior fired Galliano Tuesday, hours after an online video clip spread around the world showing him hurling anti-Semitic abuse at people in a Paris bar.

The next day, Galliano apologized and said anti-Semitism and racism "have no part in our society."

The saga began Thursday evening when Paris police were called to La Perle bar in the Marais district where they found an inebriated Galliano shouting abuse. Saturday, another woman lodged a complaint for similar behavior back in October.

The British designer will stand trial later this year on charges of making racist insults in public

Although Dior was swift to cast Galliano aside, few expect Dior will be ready to reveal the identity of a successor when his latest collection is presented in his absence in the gardens of the Paris Rodin museum Friday.   Continued...