Haute couture kicks off next week, and with its approach comes more musing about creative director-less Dior. Critics panned interim director Bill Gaytten's first efforts at couture for the house and today, the AFP wonders how long Dior can thrive without a couturier.
Sure sales are up 27 percent, which, the article notes, has served to "limit fallout from the Galliano scandal," but we've yet to see real sales figures from Gaytten's designs, which will be in stores in the coming months. Still, according to experts quoted in the AFP story, Dior can hold on without a creative director for a few season thanks to the diversity of the brand and it's strong design "codes" like the bar suit and nipped waists:
Patricia Romatet of the French Institute of Fashion sees Dior's variety as a key strength, as exemplified by the very different actresses who embody the "face" of the brand in its ad campaigns. Charlize Theron offers a "glamorous ultra-femininity", Natalie Portman a "more consensual feminity", Marion Cotillard brings "classy, French sophistication" and the American Mila Kunis a touch of youth.
Strong as the brand may be, at some point, Bernard Arnault and LVMH will have to name a new creative director. "You can manage without a designer for a season or two," Serge Carreira, a luxury sector expert and teacher at Sciences Po told the AFP. "But there is a limit, a brand must be regularly refreshed, renewed."
That limit might be, at the very latest, May, when Gaytten's contract expires. Raf Simons is currently rumored to be the front runner to take the reins (after Marc Jacobs and every other designer under the sun's name had been tossed in the ring). But until then, we hear from our source close to Dior that his couture collection, which is set to show on January 23, will be "sober" and "classic" Dior--back to basics. The collections will be presented in the original couture salons and feature a neutral palette with touches of fuchsia and red--Monsieur Dior's favorite colors. We also hear a rumor that Gaytten is already at work on cruise and possibly even couture for July--so don't expect an announcement about Dior anytime soon.