Thursday, 12 April 2012

Raf Simons for Dior...

My Pen-Pal asked me today what I thought of Raf Simons placement as the creative director for Dior. 

Quite frankly. I am not happy about this. I was rooting for Bill Gaytten.

I will try and not be biased here, but you must know John Galliano is amongst my top 3 favorite designers - and Bill Gaytten was his right hand man. It should also be mentioned, that Gaytten must be extremely loyal to Galliano as they worked together for so many years. He also currently holds the roll of creative director for John Galliano, and I do believe this is where he wants to be. I just wanted to make this clear because of all the pity party surrounding him due to the "loss" of the Dior position (so my proposition of keeping him at Dior is not really a probable one, because I do not think he wanted to stay there- but here goes my analysis anyway )...

Brief history on Gaytten:

Actually an architect, Gaytten has been playing "second fiddle" to John Galliano for a few years now, and he took over as creative director for Dior when the whole anti-Semitic debacle went down. Although he did have a rough patch in the beginning, and was highly criticized when he debuted his first collections, we must admit he has a strong learning curve.  Not only did he take the reigns as creative director for Dior and John Galliano simultaneously, his collections got really good, really fast. Although he claims this situation "was forced upon him", you have got to commend the double duty.

Dior FW2012 took the brand back to its starting point. It is a classic collection reminiscent of Dior's early years.

Although the reaction to this last collection has not been good, I have a pretty good explanation for it. The general criticism is that Gaytten did not do the past collections justice, making this one too simple. My reaction? Well of course he made it simple! He is also the creative director of John Galliano and needs to design for that brand as well. Dior is originally classy and elegant. The edge belongs to John Galliano. Gaytten gave to each their own.

DIOR SS 1947

DIOR 1949
 DIOR FW 1949

 DIOR SS 1951

Dior FW2012 by Bill Gaytten

Elegant, simple but definitely couture. Just like original Dior.
The only criticism I would have for the John Galliano FW2012 designs is that as I take a look at Gayttens collection below, I could have sworn Galliano designed it himself.
So this brings up the point, how original is Gaytten?
I would still have to say he is pretty good. After all, these are his creations, and both FW2012 collections for Dior and John Galliano are completely different.

I commend you Bill. 

John Galliano FW2012 by Bill Gaytten 


Doing his mentor proud.

Having said all that- Dior will never go back to the Galliano Golden Ages. The best it could have done was stick with Gaytten (although as I mentioned previously, this is not a realistic scenario as I am not sure he would have wanted to).

Galliano's genius cannot be competed with. The femininty, edge and bad-assness of Dior will now be forever gone. So everyone has to stop complaining and embrace Dior for what it is.

Dior FW 2010 by John Galliano

Dior FW2011 by John Galliano

This was the last collection post debacle. The seamstresses actually came out and bowed after this last show.

So now about Raf. What do we know about him? Not much really. We know he studied industrial design, and originally started designing men's clothes.  He began designing in 1995 and in 2005 he was appointed creative director for Jill Sander. 

My conflict here is, if Gaytten received so much criticism for "playing down" this past Dior FW2012 collection in comparison to it's Galliano edgy and cool days, what would they say about this?

Jill Sander FW2012 by Raf Simons

I don't know.  Simons designs are beautiful and classy. However,  I have said it before, an artist is commended for originality and ability to stand out. In my opinion, compared to Galliano's and Gaytten's collections,  comme on dit on Francais: ces't plat.  

Gaytten was able to make Dior look like well, Dior. I guess we will just have to wait and see what Raf brings to the table.

What do you think?

** All vintage pictures from

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