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Fall 2011 Paris Fashion Week: Christian Dior 2011-03-04 10:28:00

A Christian Dior Show Without John Galliano — Sans Drama, "Funereal" Instead

Fall 2011 Paris Fashion Week: Christian Dior 2011-03-04 10:28:00
Image Source: Getty

>> Typically, Cathy Horyn writes, "a Dior show would be an occasion for a mob scene at the front gates, celebrities filling front-row seats, and the arrival of Bernard Arnault." But today, not so: there were no big name celebrities (just Anna Wintour, Emmanuelle Alt, Mario Testino, and Natalia Vodianova instead); there was no Arnault — "owing to the tug of other business obligations," WWD reports — and the mob scene outside was bigger than usual: "I would say more than 300 people were there, along with extra French police officers," Horyn noted. Security was up in all regards — guest invitations were checked multiple times on the way in, and photographers weren't allowed backstage or front row access.

There was no lack in attendance, however: Dior's PR described the demand for invitations as "overwhelming." But the mood at the show "was sombre and muted, with more than one guest suggesting the atmosphere was 'funereal,'" Hilary Alexander reports, "something heightened by the black ribbons which tied the name tags to each attendees' black chair; the black carpet; and the plaintive strains of Chopin and Debussy which echoed through the tent, pre-show."

Dior CEO Sidney Toledano, who is Jewish, took the runway at the start of the show to make his first public statements (full text here) since the scandal:

"What has happened over the last week has been a terrible and wrenching ordeal for us all. It has been deeply painful to see the Dior name associated with the disgraceful statements attributed to its designer, however brilliant he may be.

"Such statements are intolerable because of our collective duty to never forget the Holocaust and its victims, and because of the respect for human dignity that is owed to each person and to all peoples.

"These statements have deeply shocked and saddened all at Dior who give body and soul to their work, and it is particularly painful that they came from someone so admired for his remarkable creative talent. So now, more than ever, we must publicly re-commit ourselves to the values of the House of Dior.

" . . . The heart of the House of Dior, which beats unseen, is made up of its teams and studios, of its seamstresses and craftsmen, who work hard day after day, never counting the hours, and carrying on the value and the vision of Monsieur Dior. What you are going to see now is the result of the extraordinary, creative, and marvelous efforts of these loyal, hardworking people."

Dior face Karlie Kloss opened the show as usual, but with John Galliano gone, Suzy Menkes writes, "The creative partners who supported Mr. Galliano over the years hardly had a look in: the milliner Stephen Jones had only a sprinkling of sensible felt hats and the makeup artist Pat McGrath created none of her dramatis personae. No stage set created a dramatic backdrop. Gone too were the outré accessories. Just a cameo at the throat was the main embellishment, although there was the usual complement of frills, bows and feminine prettiness."

Arnault's daughter, Delphine, who is deputy managing director at Dior, apparently wiped away tears at the end of the show, when the entire 30-person Dior atelier team took the runway in white coats to a standing applause. And Joe Zee tweeted, "The end of the show was an immensely touching fashion moment for me."

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