Paris Haute Couture: Dior spring/summer 2012
Bill Gaytten's Dior couture collection was great: is he the man for the top job after all?
Could it be that Dior's nervy, indecision of last year was really an example of old fashioned measured strategy? If so, it may be paying off. The collection that acting creative director Bill Gaytten just showed was a class act by any standards, and particularly so when it followed on the wobbly heels of Versace's Vegas showgirls and Alexis Mabille's riff on the Smurfs earlier in the day.
If Gaytten's 40 outfits lacked obvious Oscar fodder, then so much the better. These were clothes for real clients: gorgeous slim-line chiffon and organza dresses in damson, beige or black, with pleated, stand-away, "crumb-catcher" bodices and embroidery, subtle beading and lattice-work pin-tucking. The full-skirted versions, with their shawl-collared, waist cinching organza jackets were showier, but a no less wearable option come the cocktail hour.
The occasional drop-shouldered, half-sleeved jacket in black or taupe croc-stamped leather, worn with leather, elbow length gloves and patent or tulle court shoes with Lucite heels toughened things up nicely and a scarlet and white houndstooth pencil skirt with peplumed organza blouse could be just the required update for Cameron Diaz, who watched from the front row.
While Gaytten's first couture outing last summer looked strained, this was confident and polished, with plenty of challenges for the ateliers to sink their needles into - and pointed references to the golden days of Dior. The Bar jacket, but a little exaggerated and all of it sheer and ethereal as a dream - which is when half the inspiration came to him, ante-bellum ruffled, strapless ballgowns included.
"It's meant to be x-ray Dior, " he said afterward. "All the structure of iconic Dior, thanks to lots of fittings, but all of it see-through." Clearly this was no rush job. The pintucking on a single skirt took three days."I haven't slept for weeks," he reported cheerfully. "It's been a lot of waking up at 3 am."
He must be on good vitamins because he seemed remarkably relaxed. Surely it's time to close the deal on what is proving the longest job application in history? "No comment."
But are they going to give him the gig?" No comment." Is he working on the next couture collection? "I'm working on the next five".
Meanwhile, outside a chic French blogger worked her new Gaytten-era Dior bag - utterly plain and unembellished, it's the most modern item they've produced in years.