Galliano absence felt at Dior haute couture show

Mon Jul 4, 2011 1:51pm EDT
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By Nick Vinocur

PARIS (Reuters Life!) - Music blared and colors blazed at Christian Dior's autumn/winter haute couture show on Monday, but fashionistas said the collection sorely missed former designer John Galliano's direction.

The Parisian house known for untouchably chic and bold designs has yet to choose a successor for Galliano, who was fired from his role as top designer in March after a video surfaced of him making anti-Semitic comments at a Parisian bar.

In his absence, studio head and longtime Galliano collaborator Bill Gaytten put together an eclectic collection that pleased buyers, but failed to convince fashion die-hards that Dior can sail on much longer without a skipper at the helm.

Famous faces were few and far between at the show, which was staged with less than usual fanfare in the sun-splashed Left Bank Parisian garden of the Musee Rodin -- a sign that Dior's executive caste may be waiting for new direction before splashing out on heavy marketing.

Dior Chief Executive Sidney Toledano, speaking to journalists after the show, gave no hint that the search for a suitable successor to Galliano would end soon.

"We are taking our time, we want to find a long-term solution... All options are still open," said Toledano, who declined to specify how long the search could last.


Gaytten, helped by assistant Suzanna Venegas, gave an explosive start to his show with a bass boom that startled audiences and a series of layered taffeta aquamarine skirts paired with three-dimensional geometric headdresses.   Continued...

<p>Bill Gaytten (R), head of studio of French house Dior, and his assistant Susanna Venegas appear at the end of the Haute Couture Fall-Winter 2011/2012 fashion show for French fashion house Dior in Paris July 4, 2011. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes</p>