John Galliano on Dior, Fashion and Style

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

WWD: Let’s turn to the store on 57th Street. How do you describe the concept?

J.G.: Well the concept is, very simply, Mr. Peter Marino’s interpretation of the clothes of the house of Dior. He loves what I do at Dior and the clothes and he always dreams of the clothes when he comes up with these amazing concepts.

WWD: The selection of the art in the different stores?

J.G.: That’s very much Mr. [Bernard] Arnault, I think he’s had a very good time. I’m sure they’re moving bits and pieces around as we talk.

WWD: So the selection of the artists whose work is on view, that’s Mr. Arnault?

J.G.: Oh, very much. He has a great appreciate of the arts. He has a lot of — I’m sure even today — a lot of opinions. I don’t know that they need my opinion.

WWD: With the selection of the artwork, was there a deliberate notion to strike a balance between provocative and pretty?

J.G.: I think, like most art, it’s highly interpretive. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You can, as with any artist, open your own interpretation. I think that’s what these pieces do, which is not dissimilar to the way I work at Dior.

WWD: Talk about that — how you work at Dior.

J.G.: Well, you know, I immerse myself in research. I travel geographically, historically. I create a muse. She can be fiction. She can be fact. She can be made up or a mix of different fabulous women that I know. I like to work with a narrative. The narrative then evolves. From there, sketching starts. And then I go straight on the body. We try to create volume and shapes and try to define the lines, especially if it’s haute couture, we try to define the line. And then it’s working very, very closely with the ateliers, hand-in-hand with the artists, fabric manufacturers, beaders, all those great artisans who exist in France. Then I don’t know, before you see the final garment there could be up to 18 toiles before you reach the final, which can still be rough. Because in the true spirit of haute couture, the girls come in the night before and everything is fitted so you can’t actually fit it any earlier. They come in and there’s a whole organization, which is actually quite incredible. I’m sure you’ve been around ateliers and a bit breathless to see every single piece in pieces.

WWD: You have staged so many wonderful shows, each with a great story line and muse. Is there one muse or two or five whom you would deem particularly suited towards the Dior retail environment?

J.G.: Yes, all of them. You know all of my muses are incredibly elusive. So it’s very hard to keep track of them. I like to think that the clothes are very seductive. In fact, what you’ll be seeing is the store is the cruise wear, which is the collection we showed in Shanghai, which is now being fully delivered.

WWD: That speaks to the importance of the cruise season, that you can reopen a store with cruise.

J.G.: It’s a very strong collection. It used to be things you actually wore for cruise. But people don’t really take many cruises nowadays.

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