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John Galliano on Dior, Fashion and Style

The designer addresses the renovated Dior flagship and his own creative process.

WWD: Oh, the joys of shopping!

J.G.: Oh, retail therapy is just the best thing! You can use all that modern-day equipment and stuff, but it’s a bit cold. I like to go in.

WWD: Oh, you mean buying online?

J.G.: Online shopping — oh, no. I didn’t even know what e-commerce was until last week. I like the experience. I like to feel the fur, to smell the tweed. I like the service. I love that you go into Hermès wearing your trainers and they still say, ‘Oh Mr. Galliano, may we brush your shoes?’

WWD: Speaking of Hermès, do you think it will one day be a full-on sister house within LVMH?

J.G.: Speaking of Hermès, let’s just not talk about it. We’re here to talk about Dior, 57th and this fabulous reopening. John is blushing! I always manage!

WWD: Well then speaking of service, what kind of retail service do you respond to that you’d like to see in your store?

J.G.: The retail service that I respond to personally is the after-care, the fact that there’s somebody who’s written a note and gotten flowers and said, “Thank you for passing by.” I mean that’s just like, “Wow I’m going to go there again!” And that they have time for you when you’re in there. That they’re honest. I think it’s important to be honest. I think that’s how one ends up with faithful, loyal customers. Feeling great is part of looking great.

WWD: With more and more people shopping online, including at the luxury level, how do you see the role of the physical store changing?

J.G.: The role of the store, especially multibrand stores, they do have to move a little faster. It was fine when you’d go to these specialty stores when they would stock these fantastic designers that didn’t necessarily have their own boutiques in town. Now, those designers have gone the huge next step and they have their own stores. So it’s not really of much interest to have a smaller part of their collection in a specialty store. These specialty stores, why they started in the first place was that these designers were young, they were varied, you couldn’t get them anywhere else. They may need to think about that now. Why go to Comme des Garçons and buy from the specialty store when you have the hugest Commes des Garçons shops around the world? But I guess L’Eclaireur discovered little Paul Harnden.

WWD: But that doesn’t sound promising for the major specialty stores.

J.G.: It does. They just have to have younger, fresher collections. That’s why they started. They were very avant-garde, those designers who we’re talking about, when Maria Luisa was doing her thing or Browns. They just needed to keep their finger on the pulse and have those new designers there. That’s the way they should go now.

WWD: Do you think that today new designers can be anointed stars too early?

J.G.: Well fashion needs new blood, and I think all of the support that we can give, I mean you, us, all the editors around the world, we do need this new energy. There’s so much more help out there today then there was when I first started. Institutions like Fashion Fringe, for example, I was so impressed when I went there. I was being introduced to lawyers who were helping kids with their copyrights, how to register their labels. I mean I didn’t know any of that. It’s cool. So they’re going into the business. They’ve won this great prize.

WWD: Is that why you got involved with Fashion Fringe?

J.G.: Yes, because from the creative point of view, and then also because it was so kind of sussed. People from the industry were there to show the kids the way. I thought that was really important.

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