Bill Gaytten at Dior Plays it Safe but Loses Personality for A/W’12

by Katie on March 4, 2012

Bill Gaytten has simultaneously been the luckiest and unluckiest man alive by dint of fact of the same quandary albeit it karma and opportunity:He was the man to have the reigns forced into his hands at Dior post Galliano debacle and concurrently have the fashion world both for and against him, understanding his dilemma but also rooting for a new scion. Dior’s like that. People care about it. 
Since John Galliano left the house a year ago almost to the day, Bill Gaytten has shown both appallingly off key collections (Couture Autumn ’11) as well as fair offerings (Couture Spring ’12), that has kept the house buoyant though stripped of its theatricality, while Sidney Toledo (Chief Exec of Dior) and his boss, Bernald Arnault (Chairman of LVMH) allegedly scour for a successor to pick up Galliano’s mantle.
What made a Dior show in its hyper electric anticipation has now left the house almost bereft. True, there is still a fashion scrum of momentous proportions pre-show but this is more down to the spectator sport of fashion car crash catwalk than the shallow breathe and heart palpitations one adheres to pre fashion moment.
Gaytten chose ‘soft modernity’ as his theme and yes, that theme was well delivered, grown up and mature but there were no frills (literally) and his brand of sophistiwear was a tad dull and safe, more fitting of an house with less bite and commercial chutzpah. But commerce is front of mind and we can tell. Gaytten showed a collection that for want of a better description could be termed ‘smart separates’ in wine, rose, nude, grey and charcoal – Feminine dresses that were non too daring but just so, a series of belted collarless jackets and coats in print and plain, some see through organza fluff to balance the soft grey of sweaters, new ‘New Look’ pleated mid calf skirts and yards of pleated chiffon in bright spurts as evening wear. Hell, even the hair and make-up was paired back to near infinity with no strength of personality and plenty of nude. And with Galliano, Dior almost had multiple personality disorder. 
Commercial and wearable luxury may have been the overriding factor from Gaytten but this ‘keeping up appearances’ approach to such an esteemed brand won’t do in the long run.
As a Dior lover, the concern re both the dithering and direction of the couture house is the impact on big ready to wear sales and off shoot lines that bring in the Yankee dollar such as accessories, make-up and perfumery, that makes the House a covetable commodity. Strip that personality to the bare bones and what do you sell to your army of followers? You can disappoint them once or twice, but to keep them on the edge of their seats and abuse their loyalty may be taking it too far. Dior executives, sort it out and fast. It isn’t only the fashion press who are impatient.

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