As the fashion world bids farewell to Bill Gaytten’s short-lived and turbulent tenure as the Creative Director of Dior, we take a look at his swan song in the house, the Resort 2012 collection.
Gaytten was appointed as the Creative Director at the ‘absence’ of the legendary John Galliano following the latter’s little stint as a Parisian street performer laced with anti-semitic outbursts. Many of us hoped that Gaytten was only filling the position temporarily, while Galliano got his act together and retired to Dior, but Bernard Arnault (the CEO of LVMH, who owns the house) clearly had other plans.
They announced the appointment of Raf Simons, Belgian wunderkind formerly of Jil Sander as the new Creative Director early this spring. Simons’s reign at Dior has already started and he will be making his debut in the July couture shows in Paris. A genius in his own right, there is no doubt that Raf Simons’s very dissimilar style to both Galliano and Gaytten will be the perfect remedy to take Dior back to its superstardom.
Bill Gaytten was something of a reluctant hero of Dior – he took over after Galliano was banished and by all accounts he was not ‘mature’ enough to take on a role of such responsibility. Clearly full of respect for his former colleague, with whom he had worked with for years, he tried to emulate his style, yet bring an air of his own light, wearable and commercial character to the picture.
Not ready for the role as a leader or as a designer, he failed to impress the hyper critical fashion media and the buyers. Yet many of us grew a certain penchant for his loveable manner, felt sorry for the clearly talented designer forced to fill the shoes way too big for him and even grew to like his voluminous shapes paying tribute to the house of Dior and its founder, Christian Dior. Following the rather messy to say the least debut couture collection, Gaytten’s style grew into its own with safe, sellable and most importantly, beautiful collections.
Bidding farewell at Dior now, he does it as a somewhat established designer, who, I’m hoping will be loved and respected for his job in keeping the name of Dior alive and safe during these turbulent times. Thrown in at the deep end, he developed his own signature style through many mistakes and mishaps, and grew into a designer, we have all become to respect and love. He still remains as the Creative Director at John Galliano’s eponymous label – only time will tell, whether, being able to fully concentrate on one brand, he will be able to not just keep it alive, but take it to new heights.