At the ongoing Couture (July 4 - July 7) Christian Dior has became the first fashion house to present a haute couture collection without a named couturier, following the sacking of disgraced British designer John Galliano. Instead, Bill Gaytten and Susanna Venegas, who head up the label’s design team, took the bow at the end of the catwalk show in Paris on Monday. This was the first Dior Couture collection not designed by Galliano in 15 years.
He was sacked in April amid allegations of racial and antisemitic abuse. It was an eclectic show, which seemed to bear the hallmark of being designed by several hands. The 36 outfits ran the gauntlet from 1950s silhouettes and 1970s west coast hostesses to a ballgown-wearing Pierrot clown.Backstage Gaytten namechecked the Italian designer Ettore Sottsass, who was part of the early 1980s design movement the Memphis Group, famed for their furniture and textiles featuring fluorescent colours and daring patterns.
This influence could be seen in the pastel organza layered skirts that looked as if they were embroidered with giant Dolly Mixture sweets, topped off with cube-shaped headpieces. The decision to show a couture collection by less well-known hands is intriguing and risky. It implies that the label believes its couture customers will still want made-to-measure Dior in this period of transition. So far, sales at Dior do not appear to have suffered from the Galliano scandal.