Nobody Liked Dior Couture Without John Galliano

There are biting reviews, and then there are biting reviews, and the collective reaction of the mainstream fashion press to Dior‘s fall 2011 couture collection is most certainly the latter. It seems that without John Galliano, the clothes at Dior seriously failed to impress the people who need impressing, and from Women’s Wear Daily to The New York Times, there was barely a kind word to be found.

The collection, presented yesterday by longtime Galliano assistant Bill Gaytten, who took over Galliano’s eponymous label formally last week, was clownish — literally. There were clown hats and clown makeup and clown allusions all throughout the collection, alongside some serious homages to modern architects like Frank Gehry. But from the reviews, we don’t think anyone finds the clothes funny at all. Herein, our favorite swipes from our favorite publications:

From Women’s Wear Daily:

One’s heart had to go out to studio director Bill Gaytten and first assistant Susanna Venegas, who took the postshow bow. While the latter’s appearance made for somewhat of a surprise, one rumor among many has had Gaytten, who last week formally succeeded John Galliano at the house of Galliano, a possibility to assume the creative helm at Dior as well. If a germ of truth ever existed there, this show likely squashed it.

From The New York TimesCathy Horyn:

I like Mr. Gaytten. He’s a sweetheart, but he is not a designer.

The collection presented today, with modern architectural shapes as the reference (at least that explains the dumb cubes and balls embedded in the models’ hair), was a hodgepodge. I had the feeling that Mr. Gaytten, without providing much guidance, let the studio hands play with free-form shapes. There were multicolored jackets with full pleated skirts in contrasting squiggle patterns. The tutti-frutti palette, with jolts of turquoise, recalled the Memphis design movement. Other dresses in metallic silk, with overlapping squares, made you think of Frank Gehry’s buildings. That immaculate Dior polish was not evident. Some long flowing dresses in hand-painted silk looked contemporary enough, but for the most part the clothes looked like over-bright costumes.


There was a Bar jacket or two in the mix, acknowledging Dior’s legacy, but the overriding sense was that a demon, long-contained, had been released, so that the Dior woman had suddenly been possessed by a disco dolly who, to the strains of Grace Jones, would blow out her hair and rampage to the nearest dance floor in a molto-bat-winged hostess gown that perfectly captured the campiness of cult-fave TV play Abigail’s Party.

Ouch. Take a look at what got everyone so upset below, and tell us what you think about the collection in the comments.

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