19 April 2011

What’s next for Dior and Galliano and John Galliano?

 

John taking a bow back in '93 and Kate Moss modelling in one of his collections in '95

It’s coming up for two months since the Galliano scandal broke. Dior announced that the designer had been sacked on March 1st, and since then a spate of furious speculation has occurred and then died down. Galliano himself has entered and completed time in rehab and then most recently, Christian Dior announced that the disgraced designer would not be returning to the brand John Galliano, which is 91% owned by the company. So far speculation has been rife about all three but what has LVMH, the parent company actually been doing about it all, and what does the future hold for Christian Dior, John Galliano the man and John Galliano the brand?

LMHV bosses are reportedly leaving no stone unturned in the search for a new Creative Director of Christian Dior. CEO Bernard Arnault will have the final say, although two other players are important in choosing candidates. Dior chief executive officer Sidney Toledano AND Delphine Arnault, who is the deputy managing director at Dior, as well as Arnault junior and the "heir apparent" to the business empire, have a lot of input. Delphine is thought to be championing fellow LVMH employee, Riccardo Tisci, who currently heads up Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci.

 

The father and daughter duo

In the running at one point or another have been or are; Tom Ford, Hedi Slimane, Olivier Theyskens, Nicholas Ghesquière and Alber Elbaz, along with lesser-known designers such as Haider Ackermann, Prabal Gurung and Alexander McQueen’s Sarah Burton. The consensus is currently that the company will go for someone with great skills and a sensitivity towards the brand DNA of Dior, rather than someone well established at another House. It went without saying that the personality of the designer will not be required to overshadow the clothes.

Meanwhile the company has made the surprising decision to keep hold of the brand John Galliano, and continue to produce collections in the absence of its founder. The word is that the house was never particularly profitable, and garnered less press than its couture big sister, Christian Dior. What with other big companies like Dolce and Gabbana deciding to wind down D&G to cut costs, this would have not been a huge shock. The Italian companies who own the licences to produce bits like John Galliano’s debut fragrance, have expressed an interest in buying up the label lock and stock, but LVMH has chosen to decline this. Incidentally – no successor has been mooted to take over the reins at this label and for now the design team who previously worked under John, in particular, one designer called Bill Gaytten who has worked with JG since the Eighties have continued to produce collections in the designer's absence. The fashion critics who braved the chill surrounding the John Galliano show at PFW in March; which had been downgraded to a salon presentation – were pleasantly surprised at the calibre of the collection so Mr Gaytten clearly has the chops.

Last but not least, the fashion world have allowed themselves a bit of a muse about whether or not the star designer will ever be welcomed back into the fashion fold. Opinions ranged from that of Carla Sozzani, owner of Milan-based fashion retailer Corso Como 10 who said ‘I hope so. Otherwise, it would be such a waste. Maybe I’m a dreamer, but I’m hoping he’s going back to his own brand. It would make sense that he works for Galliano.’

 

Galliano's A/W '10 couture collection for Dior

A more pessimistic view would be that of Carla's sister, Franca Sozzani; editor in chief of Vogue Italia, who said ‘It’s not a matter of making amends, because what happened will never be excused. You must let time go by and recognize that, on a human level, he’s made a mistake, and that, on a creative level, he remains a huge personality.’

While some in fashion argue that the industry, like show business, has a short memory – look at Kate Moss and her cocaine video or any of Naomi Campbell’s court appearances for assault – they have both come back triumphantly. However, US PR expert Robert Burke of Robert Burke Associates, noted that the anti-Semitic nature of Galliano’s outbursts is ‘pretty unprecedented’ and distinct from the familiar wild-child antics of pampered stars from fashion or Hollywood.

‘America loves a comeback story, but this is a very different offence that’s very sensitive to many people,’ Burke said. ‘Time will tell.’

Already American retailers have declined to re-order Galliano goods, Selfridges in London are eschewing the Galliano menswear they previously stocked and Corso Como in Italy have a strict policy that they will not stock clothes designed by anyone who is not the founder, while the founder is still alive!

It is possible that he will want to return to the world of fashion at some future point (remember – he still has a court case to go through with in Paris) but it won’t likely be at Dior or with LVMH. We refer to the company’s own guidelines, as quoted in their annual report;

'Inadequate products or communication policies with the brand image, inappropriate behaviour of persons who represent the brands, along with circulation of prejudicial information to the media, could affect brand image and lead to an adverse effect on sales.'

More Galliano/Dior news as well get it, readers! Read more about John Galliano "out of rehab and into hiding" in this week's issue of Grazia, out today.


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