Dior thrives without a couturier

Dior thrives without a couturier

PARIS - Agence France-Presse
Dior thrives without a couturier

A model presents a creation by British designer John Galliano for Dior. AFP Photo

Ten months after John Galliano was sacked over a racist outburst, Dior has yet to name a new chief designer but sales are booming. Which begs the question: how long can the French fashion house thrive without a couturier at the helm?

At Paris Fashion Week in September, Christian Dior’s chief executive Sidney Toledano said the fashion house would take the time it needs to find the right fit.

The following month Dior posted a turnover of 705 million euros for the first three quarters of 2011, up 21 percent on the period in 2010. Retail sales were up by 27 percent. Buoyant sales suggest Dior has managed to limit fallout from the Galliano scandal, sacking him as soon a video emerged of him hurling anti-Semitic slurs at patrons in a Paris bar, and strongly condemning his outburst.

Since then, the British designer’s former right-hand man Bill Gaytten has overseen its collections, sticking to house “codes” from Dior red to the classic nipped-waist bar suit.

For the historian of fashion Lydia Kamitsis, Galliano may no longer be there, but Dior can still draw on “all that he brought it in terms of product, of image or general artistic direction.” That said, experts warn the house cannot carry on forever without artistic direction, especially when it comes to haute couture.