Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Difference Between Art and Imitation in Fashion as Presented by the House of Christian Dior

Alright so straight up I might say some bold things right now so agree with me or don't agree with me, whatever. I recently had the pleasure of viewing the latest Christian Dior Haute Couture collection by Bill
Gaytten. For those of you who are unaware of the current situation at the House of Dior.... a few months ago there was a disastrous occurance involving the House's Creative Director and most valuable creative asset to the company - the now infamous John Galliano. Everyone remembers his horrible racist rant which effectively ended his career and caused irreparable humiliation for the Galliano and the House of Dior alike. His rather public dismissal from his position with the company was devastating mainly because of the undeniable and highly enviable talent of John Galliano as a fashion designer. He has since been involved in countless trials and hassels as a result of his blatantly despicable behavior, and his position at the House of Dior has of course,
been filled.
Bill Gaytten, the newly appointed Creative Director worked under the master himself for
more than a decade prior to the incidents which occurred this past February. He was one of his
most intimate confidants and facilitators and he understood the way that Galliano worked better than anyone else. He was
the clear choice for the position. Think back to when Leigh McQueen died in 2010 and he was replaced by his assistant, Sarah Burton, whose collection ended up being so staggeringly good that she was envied for her ability to continue the McQueen tradition with her own personal spin on it. Gaytten was I think meant to try and replicate this situation, but has unfortunately come
off much less than adequate in comparison to either Galliano or Sarah Burton herself.
Part of the reason I went into fashion design and became so enamored with the fashion industry was John Galliano. I can still identify key features in many of his most eye popping collections with Christian Dior as well as with his own self-titled label. I was such an enormously huge fan of his. Very few other designers have had the ability to actually make me cry while witnessing the absolute beauty he was able to accomplish with clothing. His dismissal from Diorand the whole scandall in general hit me pretty hard. Every collection Petey the Troll has ever done has been influenced by his techniques and contributions to the ongoing dialogue about fashion and glamour. The collection is presented in three parts. First we have the cocktail dresses and skirt-top combos, all presented with a clear attempt at high drama in the manner of John Galliano. The silhouettes were almost exactly the same as in some of the most recent Dior collections, featuring that famous "Dior Woman" look from the late 40s that John used so frequently. The patterned fabrics were just way too bold and over the top and the colour choices were frankly somewhat lack luster. The second section was horrifying. The models wearing theflowy full length chiffon dresses with the wild hair were just outrageous. Who said that was okay for them to look like that out on stage?? As they walk by they swoosh their arms about in a manner not uncommon to that of Morticia Addams or Lily Munster. Weird. The last bit with the ball gowns is where the real Couture comes out. I personally would have been much happier if the show consisted of nothing but these types of dresses and drop all the other garbage.
Not to say that most of these dresses aren't unnecessarily over the top. They come off more
as amateur art pieces than Christian Dior Couture gowns. The last one however, did have my
eye glued to the screen for the duration of her walk from thew beginning to the end of the runway. The choice of fabric and colour makes her look like an architectural masterpiece - perhaps the only win in the collection. Butttttt then the end comes and this suggestion is promptly ruined by the director's choice to have her standing at the back of the stage like a weird statue of liberty or something while the designers come out and wave their little hands. It
looked forced, it looked like they were trying to do something epic with something that just wasn't going to be epic.
He had the key elements. He had the drama and the high contrast and the variety of fabrics and the typical Galliano style show going on with the beginning, middle and end, but in my humble opinion Gaytten was lacking one main thing in his collection. Where is the beauty?? Where is the elegance and grace of the Dior woman?? The Dior woman is supposed to have class and be the most beautiful woman in the room wearing the most beautifully constructed and
created clothing. Gaytten missed the boat on that one I think.

Thanks that was my rant about Christian Dior. See you soon!!