Dior hits the Paris catwalk without John Galliano

Fri Mar 4, 2011 8:39am EST
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By Astrid Wendlandt

PARIS (Reuters) - Christian Dior will on Friday become the biggest fashion brand in recent history to present a catwalk collection at Paris Fashion Week without a star designer to applaud.

Dior -- the jewel in the couture crown of the world's biggest luxury group LVMH -- fired chief designer John Galliano three days ago for making anti-Semitic comments in a video where he expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler.

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.

While Dior was quick to part ways with Galliano after 15 years at the top of one of the world's best known fashion labels, industry experts did not expect the couture house to announce the British designer's replacement on Friday.

Possible successors at Dior that have been mooted include Riccardo Tisci, designer at Givenchy, Dior's sister brand within the LVMH group.

In Galliano's absence, Dior's design team is expected to bow at the end of the show to whomever it is that turns up.

Fashionistas said they would pay close attention to whether the event would be attended by the usual group of celebrities such as French actress Marion Cotillard, who has been the face of Dior, or LVMH head Bernard Arnault.

Arnault, who founded LVMH, usually attends the Dior show.   Continued...

<p>Fashion designer John Galliano and his lawyer Stephane Zerbib (L) arrive for a hearing at a police station in Paris, February 28, 2011. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes</p>