It’s now almost been ten months since John Galliano was dismissed in controversial circumstances from his position as head designer for Dior, after allegedly launching a drunken anti-Semetic rant at a woman in a café. The task of finding his replacement has been anything but simple. Galliano’s former right hand man, Bill Gaytten, has been acting head of the studio since his departure in February, but after the autumn 2011 couture show under his leadership received an almost universally frosty reception, it seems that management at the design house are searching for a new big name designer to take up the role.
Dior a/w 2011 couture
The name of almost every designer heading a label at the moment has been thrown into the ring by the international fashion media at some point this year. Early favourites included YSL’s Stefano Pilati and Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci. However, Bernaud Arnault, the CEO of Dior and also LVMH (the luxury goods heavyweight that owns labels such as Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs and Céline) has a big problem with his search: moving any designer from one of his company’s many design houses into the Dior role just leaves another gap to be filled, so looking elsewhere may be his only sensible option. There are also no guarantee that a designer who is doing well at one label will be a good fit for another (or will want to leave a house where they are flourishing).
Marc Jacobs, one of the front runners for the Dior role.
Reports of a successor about to be confirmed have surfaced frequently, with particular coverage given to rumoured discussions with Marc Jacobs in September for the position. The talks reportedly broke down due to Jacobs’ demands, including his wish that his entire team at Vuitton would make the move with him. Another obstacle was rumoured to be the fact that Céline head, Phoebe Philo, LVMH’s first choice to replace Jacobs at Vuitton if he moved to Dior, did not want to leave her current position with Céline, where she has become a darling of fashion editors worldwide
The latest focus of gossipmongers is Raf Simons, currently designing at Jil Sander, which would certainly be a departure from Dior tradition if his minimal and modern looks for Jil Sander are anything to go by. One thing is for sure, whoever does win the role finds themselves in an unenviable position, as both they and the entire fashion world will know they were not the first choice for the job. Here’s hoping whoever the new head of Dior turns out to be isn’t afraid of scrutiny.
By Jenny Quigley