Dior: The Borehouse - Page 5 - the Fashion Spot
 
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19-07-2009
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I've been following this thread since it started and only in the last few days I may have lost track of what has been mentioned so I hope not just to repeat things that have already been mentioned.
Before I posted, I wanted to take a look at some of the most recent pictures I have from the Dior collections. All the seasons lined up (not to miss any show): how it was, how it is, and how could it be in the future.
To me "the borehouse" phenomena dates as far back as fall 2007 ready to wear. A very couture collection for a rtw, even too much if you ask me. Maybe we wouldnt have said it was boring then, because it was something new for John, but it is after that particular collection that everything Dior has delivered could be summarized in either 'sheer fabrics in powder/make up colours' or 'blocky monochrome two pieces ensembles'. All of it with the usual seasoning of high high high heels, crazy make up... and, of course, 'cannage'... an overdose of it (on belts, jackets, cell phones, bags, shoes...)
Now who would have thought an innocent geometrical pattern could ever become just as tacky as the rasta monogram?

One of the things that bother me most about the whole evolution of the brand in the last few years is this monochromatic look I just mentioned. Before 2007, we had seen John do the most delightful combinations of colours... he was no Lacroix, it is true, but he always had this great sense of colour, constructing beautiful palettes, combining it all in one outfit...
This sensibility however seems to be lost since spring couture 2007! the very last of his grandeur!
One could only say cruise 2008 and 2009 dont fall into that pattern, but the result was so poor, maybe it'd be best if they never happened.
I wouldn't take Chanel Iman on pink and orange for the fall 2008 show as an exception either ...poor girl

If the Dior "crisis" (uh, this C word...) started in fall rtw 2007, then it would be safe to say the period of transition would be the whole 2007 year. The first symptom to me would be the disappearance of the trademark rock&roll attitude from the previous seasons.
Spring couture 2007 was beautiful, yes. Beyond beautiful in construction, in rich colour, the origami, the beautiful set, the amazing make up... but there was an undeniable lack of mixed references. After all, it seemed to many that the idea behind it was Madame Butterfly and little more.
If John was good at something, the best maybe, was at taking Edie Sedwick and Russia and Josephine and Beyonce and Egypt and Asia and s&m, putting them all together and getting out the most amazing results. All of them mixed into one dreamy presentation.
Now when he does 'safari chic', it's bland like last summer. When he references great masters like Vermeer he makes it look endimanchť . If it's Klimt, it's only him... and that's what's worse: it seems like he only dares doing them one by one.

I can't help missing the days when the vibe at the house really was Rock. Of course soft and commercial rock&roll... I don't think any of us would ever have high expectations of anything that isn't mainstream at Dior. But still the attitude is what mattered. Fall couture 2006 comes to mind and even then, who would've complained of those gorgeous monochrome suits. There was a particular passage with one in green, then blue, then fuchsia, soft pink... very much the same idea of fall 2007, but perfectly executed! Just with the right balance between fantasy and reality.
Looking back at couture fall 2005, an homage collection but a celebration of Galliano's talent at the same time; or spring rtw 2006 with the young daring attitude, the nudity and then splashes of colours, and of course the Gauchos; the resort in 2007, minimal but young and vital... it looked good every time, fresh every time!
Even spring 2007, rtw, even such an exercise of constrained emotion just seemed right! even if it was the start of the powdered colours, it was a radical change! that is what Galliano had always been about...
He just seems stuck in this phase, this Lady Dior bags + grey wool pencil skirts phase... it's just getting ridiculous.
Where's the madness!? psychedelic colours, big volumes, matrix, the rasta and the golf, powerful and sexy attitudes... sometimes right, others wrong, but never EVER conformist. It's as if he had found his definitive answer to the ever changing question that is fashion (for Dior, that is of course).

A lot has been mentioned about who is to blame. Toledano, Arnault, Robinson... but I'm not sure we should really point at one of them.
The power-enhancing article that was posted here on Arnault is a bit confusing or even malicious.
If you interpret it as him taking control over the creative side of the company I would understand the concerns.
However, what the article actually portrays him doing is just analysing what eventually gets to his stores. What any other buyer would do. A mere post-creative process sieve.

When you look at it that way; If you see his interference as a way of making sure the label doesn't get to the point where it was during the "J'adore Dior" t-shirts years, I don't think there's that much to complain about.
On a recent visit to Paris, I had the opportunity to go back to the Avenue Montaigne flagship. I hadn't been there in about two years and I wanted to see the much talked about changes that had been done to the store about a year ago, and most importantly what the mood at the true heart of the house was.
I must say I was very, very pleased.
I remember what it was like going there in the all-over logo days, I have all the current collections in mind, but when I go inside, and after I pass a room packed with 'cannaged' bags and the screening of recent collections and bland advertisements, I don't really get the feeling of being in the money making epicentre of a big corporate group.
The sensation is more like an old Hollywood meets globetrotting jet setter dressing room. Underline dressing room. Everything beautifully displayed, the quietness... Gorgeous furs that I wish we saw down the catwalk in pure and natural hues, not just orange and green. There's ravishing cocktail dresses and blouses and more... The ambience is absolutely seductive, not in the rock&roll way I said I miss from the past, but in a new one! And who doens't like new?
Maybe this is what should be in the shows! Maybe a little darker? More in-house presentations should be done like in the last couture show (sauf the tacky flowers ) perhaps. The allure one gets from the boutique answers my questions of how Dior manages to stay relevant and satisfying his clients. Does that mean Arnault should interfere more? If it does, I'm not complaining.
It's just puzzling that the stores have this totally different mood from what the shows or the advertisement deliver!

Now that the days of the grand magasin ambience are gone, why not take advantage of that?
Galliano still has a lot of potential to seduce. But there is no way to seduce going big and bold. Seduction implies intimacy, seeing things up close, speaking directly to the audience, not from far above, not from a mirrored-runway throne with the bodyguards and all.

Like in any other field of arts (or applied arts) artists must keep two main groups of people happy: the clients and the white collars of course as a whole, but also a large audience of critics, and people of related businesses like magazines, suppliers, and also fans! ... stakeholders. This obviously applies to fashion just as it does to graphic arts, and architecture, and performing arts... and whoever says only the potential clients matter is ignoring a part of this industries that holds huge power and responsibilities.
If through Arnault's 'selection', the house can keep the clients happy and the profit increasing in double digits, it is Galliano's job to keep the rest (of us) entertained!
Not easy to satisfy, I think it's only natural that we demand some change from time to time. Change we need, and change they aim.

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19-07-2009
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I've been thinking about this recently and I'm actually going to go against the grain and say that the problems started as a result of that F/W 2004 Teddy Boy collection, rather than with the S/S 07 couture collection as many (including myself) have often felt. I remember the response to that collection, both here on tFS and in the press. It wasn't very good. That collection, as fun and cool as it may have been, was pure show. There was very little on that runway that would ever have wound up in stores (whereas even the most theatrical RTW shows like F/W 03 had a good percentage of salable clothes and ideas to spin off in the lineup when you look closely). Before then there was a pretty good balance between the theatrics and the garments, but with that collection the scale tipped so extremely that for the first time outside of the HC the clothes themselves were pure theater. I think the S/S 07 collection is what everyone goes back to as the beginning of the problems because that was the beginning of this current rut that John's in.

After F/W 04 things changed radically and his RTW collections were kind of uneven. Although some of the results were good in those transitional seasons it wasn't until John dove head first into the archives in 2007 that he seemed to find his bearings, and I think that's because the Dior archives have a lot of the drama and theatricality that he's naturally drawn to, as well as the fact that everything is pretty much mapped out for him. It's fool-proof and not very risky. I think he's in a similar place to where he was in the late 90s after the whole Pocahantas show debacle. After that show and up to the Matrix couture collection he stuck with churning out bland variations on things he himself was known for without any of the creativity that defined his usual work. He's doing the same thing now, only instead of churning out safe versions of his own signatures he's working with Dior's. We all know what happened after that last calm period, he re-signed his contract and took huge risks that paid off big time both for Dior financially and for himself creatively.

I'm definitely not foolish enough to hope that that's where this is headed, that a page will turn and a new chapter in Galliano's Dior will begin, but there are similarities between now and the last time there was a lull.

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Last edited by Spike413; 20-07-2009 at 03:02 PM.
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20-07-2009
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^i'm inclined to agree with you about the genesis of this problem occurring back in 2004 but not fully gestating until 2007. i remember hating that teddy boy collection as well and it went SO commercial after that.

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20-07-2009
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yup, i agree about 04 and the Teddy boy collection. going through the past collection it was really the last of the "KA-POW!" collections. things became more sober afterwards, tho it wasn't until he spent more time with the "New Look" that he got stuck with it and basically kept on redoing the New Look, over and over again.

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20-07-2009
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This has been so interesting to read.

In all honesty, I am going to come right out and say I was floored by Fall Couture 2009. I loved it, and it has quickly shot to one of my all time favourites. This is likely because so many elements are things I am already so passionate about - the lingerie, 1940s etc...

Reading all these comments about his apparent decline is pretty much news to me - I am new here, and whilst I do look at most of the new collections as they come out I guess I would consider myself a little bit of an outsider.

As I now sit here pondering the logomania many of you described, all the past collections are familiar to me and I can see what so many of you have described in regards to his journey and transition. At the same time though I can still see his genius throughout all these elements, for me, no magic has been lost, I feel inspired by all his collections, almost every outfit. The thought, the hours behind every piece is immense, and I think I just find it hard to believe that someone could lose their magic.

It feels a little like a case of 'i like your old stuff better than your new stuff'. Perhaps he is just maturing, learning, growing. I am sure he is a different person that he was 10 years ago, and for whatever reasons that is I am enjoying his creative output thoroughly. I know very very little about the workings of the insides of the business, in regards to Arnault etc - but from where I sit there is no disappointment.

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20-07-2009
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^^
first and foremost: Welcome to the Fashion Spot!
I just wanted to point out something i thought while reading your post, and that despite not being strictly topic related it could be interesting to share with the rest. I was just thinking how interesting it is to see your point of view on the matter, you who call yourself an outsider to the topic! Very simple idea, but a reflection followed.

If you compare any of the different posts in the previous 4 pages of thread, Spike's post with mine for instance, you will see how much perspectives differ from one to an other. Beyond matters of taste, knowledge, experience... what I think makes the biggest difference is the way time has a major role on shaping our perceptions.
We could say then, for example that Spike looks at this specific topic with a larger perspective than mine. Some of the oldest collections he talks about are something I've discovered years after they were presented, not as they were happening. As this shows inevitably in both Spike's and my own writing, it makes us have different expectations from Galliano's collections and consequently, it bounds our rationality or analytic capacity.

Beyond the conclusions that any of us might be getting out of this thread and strictly related to its topic, we can also see how we all build present perceptions through the lens of many years (some more than others of course) of observation and interest and giving thought to all of this matters. And that is why I can't help wondering how much should we try to look beyond preconceptions.

I specially like your final statement hopelessly.
When you say "from where i sit there is no disappointment". It makes me think if ever our constant effort to keep up with all the information, and remember everything from previous seasons, and madly identifying all the references doesn't become after all an epistemological obstacle more than an analytic advantage.
It's clear that the idea of taking everything as if it was an absolute beginning isn't the answer either. I remember recently reading something that exemplified this very well. A very simple idea of how looking at a calla lily shot by Mapplethorpe and the evocation of a certain sexuality and humanness, is only possible through the understanding of the artist's previous work.

How do we (please excuse the karl-fan-bias) get to the impeccable "lagerfeldian" model of forgetting the previous seasons as he says he does, while using all the essential codes and keys to the house he works for. With 50 years of "metier" the kaiser may after all have something to teach us, no?
So shall we look at Dior asking ourselves What next? or How next? Neither? Where are the limits?

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20-07-2009
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I don't know about this, though...
The first Dior collection I can recollect because I began to be interested in High Fashion is, I think, SS 08...White suits, Sting's 'I'm an Alien', powder coloured lace dresses, Jess Stam, my Coco and Kasia in the campaign.
I remember that at style.com there was talk about a safe collection, and though I love many of the elements used (lace, pastels, silk, boudoir, those nasty hats), there was disappointment...

I was like 'What? This is Dior? That is what everyone's talking about?'
It could not be. That thread made it apparent to me that my earliest fashion memories come from the Kaiser, of course, being German, and from Galliano's Dior. I so well remeber that episode of SATC with Lucy Liu and she was in that black 'J'adore Dior' tee. And then, with sixteen, in Shanghai when I walked into a Dior boutique for the first time. How I can recall those saddle bags!
Mind you, I didn't know anything about fashion yet. I loved period dressing, so I looked through old (in quotation marks) HC collections. Oh my, that medieval one! How could I ever forget. Only now, all those recollections came back to me...
Isn't this amazing? What Dior used to do with you? Even if you did not realize? I don't think it's still able to do this anymore, sadly...

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21-07-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dior_couture1245 View Post
I totally agree. And in all honesty, I think it's really the only option he has in order to make Dior fresh again.

RTW SS 06, and even SS 07 are good examples of great clothes that speak for themselves. Neither of those shows relied on over-the-top drama, outrageous make up, or loud colors. I remember a lot of people, myself included, thought RTW SS 07 was a really boring show, but I've come to like it quite a bit. The clothes were really beautiful, and I especially love the armor suits...but I think what I love most is that the color palette was so focused and so sophisticated - army greens, cements and pale pinks.

If I had power over Galliano, I would have him create a collection using nothing but white muslin...he loves showing off the inner workings of couture, and I've always found white muslin mock-ups to be incredibly beautiful and charming. Nude make up on the models, no nail polish, no platform heels, grungy bed hair...it would be so elegant.

I do agree that he has to show his mastery of tailoring and construction again, not just the embellishment. Also, he should shock us by wearing normal clothes and not in costume when he takes his bow.

Unfortunately, he probably can't send out nude models because Dior sells makeup too :p...but think also how much more successful YSL Beaute is compared to Dior, there's a classic elegance associated with YSL and I can only think of a sexy "Gisele" doing an exaggerated "S" with big hair and sunglasses when I think about Dior. Even in the ads you can tell YSL is a haughty beauty but Dior is like the French Versace. And when I was little, Dior always meant a kind of chic elegance to me, my mom associated it with the Catherine Deneuve, Jacqueline Kennedy type of iconic beauty, and I always wanted a bottle of the Diorissimo growing up. Look at the old Dior ads, they are so feminine, abstract, modern, yet classic.

I make the comparison because I do think that YSL inherited the "Dior genes", , Marc Bohan is merely ok after YSL at Dior, but he still captured a little of the spirit. Both YSL and Marc Bohan were really debonair, and I would argue Heidi Slimane as well, so I wonder if that would have made a difference, and if Slimane might be a better fit for Dior's women collection? There's a sharpness and leanness to their designs that's missing at Dior.

Dior is now commemorating 30 years of Marc Bohan, perhaps a hint to Galliano?

I guess I'm one of the few who hated the days of "J'Adore Dior" T-shirts, glitzy sunglasses and socialites doing crystals-encrusted "Rock" style.

In that sense, i think Tom Ford and Pilati took YSL to a better "updated" version, same with Lanvin, compared to what Galliano did to Dior. Ok, so Carla Bruni wears Dior, and looks dowdy...it's kinda extreme, either sexy-vulgar or dowdy...what's happened to good old chic?

I'm so afraid if Galliano sends out a "Catherine Deneuve" collection it'll look like a caricature of the icy blonde, with the exaggerated waist, make up and gait....

All three started out as heavy weights and national emblems of French luxury design, but Dior has lost its way somewhat. I like Galliano, don't want to lose this romantic, hedonistic gypsy, but I really wish he'd pull himself up and change SOMETHING at Dior.


Last edited by Zazie; 21-07-2009 at 03:32 AM.
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21-07-2009
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Christian Dior has by no doubt gone "boring" compared to what it used to be. For me it turned boring after S/S07 Haute Couture. And this is a point that Ive always been interested in. At which point do people consider Christian Dior to have turned "boring"?? Is it the same as me? Or earlier? Or later? Or do some people think it hasnt happened yet at all??

But Ive always assumed that it happened because the company needed to sell more merchandise during the recession so they're going for more commercial looks. I dont think it has anything with Galliano's decisions. If it was up to him he'd keep up his fantastic designs he did in the early 00s I think.

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22-07-2009
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^ In a way there have been many points in his time at Dior when what he's done became "boring". The Pocahontas collection in 98 was sort of the breaking point for his lush, decadent period dramas, the Teddy Boy and Empress Sissi collections of 2004 were around the time when people started complaining about his over the top, extreme spectacles, now people are tired of the "Diorisms" and New Look reprises. Every phase he's gone through - the deconstruction, the reconstruction, the volume, the foreign explorations, the platforms, the vintage inspirations - has gotten boring as some point.

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22-07-2009
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^ His early 00s collections were the best for me. Especially Fall 2003 and Spring 2004. They were truely groundbreaking. You could feel that he communicated his ideas so clearly and logically.

But I agree. His ideas always became boring to people at some stage.

I loved collections like his Fall 2005 Haute Couture collection where he sequenced looks to create such powerful shows.

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28-07-2009
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I dont believe that John has lost his touch in anyway. I just think that he needs to breath some fresh life back into the house. Although I do not hate what he has done, I must say it could be better. The house just needs a new direction and a New Dior woman to focus on. John has the talent to do this and I believe that he can

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02-08-2009
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Street-a-licious - Sorry for late reply but in answer to your query, I was in fact refering to items from Gallianos own collection being sold on eluxury. To put that into context for tFS members I was discussing the influence of Bernard Arnault/LVMH over Gallianos work at Dior and whether it was this and not a change in Galliano that was effecting the aesthetic of shows since 2004/2005. I questioned this because one forumer had suggested John Galliano the brand was in part owned by LVMH and if this was the case it would explain why both shows for his own label and Dior had dramatically changed, but I was querying this as the only thing I know of that could suggest this was infact the case is that items by Galliano were sold on eluxury, which was the online outlet for many of the LVMH brands. Is this any clearer? It's all very complicated!

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04-08-2009
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doesn't look like this retreat into the conservative have spelled increased net sales for christian dior....

http://www.wwd.com/fashion-news/#/ar...n=fashion-news

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Ok I might be wrong but I think I am starting to see a pattern in Galliano's work at Dior.

A few days ago I came across a documentry on John Galliano on youtube. Some of you might have seen it but basicly it was a profile showing his days from St. Martins to his collection at Dior, I forget up to what collection it stoped at though. When he started at Dior everyone was in love with his amazing shows and garments that were very beautiful and theatrical, and as we all know this is what helped hom gain popularity not only at Dior but his own line as well. But with Dior he has been doing something different. The patteren I am seeing is that he changes dirrections very suddenly. When he first started at Dior he would do these amazing shows, it was like watching the opera instead of a fashion show. And then the next thing you know is that he just switched directions.

After that he toned down the shows a little bit so that the colthes could be better shown, also he changed the age of the client by bring in the ready to wear collection inspired by Lauren Hill. No longer was the houde of Dior a brand for women in there 40's and 50's but a women in her 20's, giving the house a new frsh hip/ rock and roll tone. And he contined this with his collection inpsired by the homeless, the amazon couture collection,the nude collection, and contined to the fall 2006 collection inspired by punk rock of the 80's. This chain also had an influence in his couture collection becasue until just recently the ready to wear collection always had a direct link to the couture collections

Now fast foward to this more recent collection. I believe the next big change for Dior started with the Fall/Winter 2007 Haute Couture colllection. Is was a very toned down and more wearable collection for John. And I remember a comment that he made about this collection "there is a new look in the couture salons". And he has followed with the new look of dior all through this year. I think that John takes an insperation and carries that for a while and then he finds something new and just wipes the slate clean msking the house freash once agian. I also find ot interesting that he started with these more wearable collection right after the 60's Anniversity of the House.

Like I sad before I could be worng about my prediction but I think that very soon we are in for another change at Dior maybe in the next 2 seasons. I think we are getting to that point where John is going to make another shift at the House of Dior.

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