Fashion pack turn out in support of Dior

Fri Mar 4, 2011 1:59pm EST
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By Astrid Wendlandt

PARIS (Reuters Life!) - The fashion elite turned out in support of couture house Christian Dior for its catwalk show in Paris on Friday three days after it fired star designer John Galliano over anti-Semitic comments.

Influential U.S. Vogue Editor Anna Wintour, department store buyers, supermodels, celebrities, wealthy aristocrats and the children of the man who founded the LVMH luxury group which owns the Dior label gave the collection's team -- sans Galliano -- a standing ovation.

Dior's team of assistants and seamstresses in white vests received applause from an audience, who also listened solemnly to Dior Chief Executive Sidney Toledano speak about the storm of controversy which engulfed the atelier just a week before Friday's show.

"It has been deeply painful to see the Dior name associated with the disgraceful statements attributed to its designer, however brilliant he may be," Toledano told the group assembled under a vast marquee in the garden of the Rodin Museum.

"Such statements are intolerable because of our collective duty to never forget the Holocaust and its victims."

Dior -- the jewel in the crown of the world's biggest luxury group, LVMH -- fired its chief designer on Tuesday for slurring anti-Semitic comments in a video in which he also expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler and appeared to be inebriated.

Cancelling the runway presentation would have meant the loss of an entire collection in which the company had invested heavily, as well as the loss of a season's worth of orders from buyers sent by retail outlets from around the world.

APPROPRIATE   Continued...

<p>Dior staff applauds on the catwalk at the end of British designer John Galliano's Fall-Winter 2011/2012 women's ready-to-wear fashion collection for French fashion house Dior during Paris Fashion Week March 4, 2011. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier</p>