Saint Laurent and Galliano at Dior

What could already be considered as the major event of the entire fashion year happened last week at the London fashion shows, where the first collection of Maison Margiela, entirely designed by the king of fashion, John Galliano, hit the runway gaining powerful attention from fashion-medias.

Suzy Menkes described enthusiastically every single look of the collection, underlining the great comeback of one of the most controversial designer of our time.  John Galliano’s return was long yearned by his supporters and the collection was the proof that his creative mind had beaten his ghosts, making him able to reinvent his exquisite couture vision.  The ethereal and sexy outfits screamed unmistakably John Galliano.  As a real artist his signature was clear, even if the collection itself was far distant from Dior’s glamour.


Maison Dior played a decisive role in Galliano’s professional journey when in 2011 the then creative director of the French fashion house was fired after his infamous anti-Semitic rant was caught on tape and gone viral.  We are all well aware of what happened after the offensive fact, as Galliano was left alone, repudiated from the kingdom of fashion until now and this new sensational collaboration with Margiela.

Galliano had a great responsibility with this new collection as not only he had to demonstrate that the past three years didn’t weaken his creativity, but also that he had the chance to be the first to revolutionalize the concept behind tailor-made garments.

The pervasive mediocrity in which fashion’s world is slowly drowning have in front of itself a new hero, John Galliano, whose talent for dressmaking and tailoring can make the difference over his alcoholic abuse.

This collection has been a decisive event for the evoulution and survival of couture.

I’m thrilled that we might be spectators of a fundamental stage in the history of fashion, made possible by the dismissal of a famous designer from Maison Dior.  And what seems amazing is that we’re spectator of a deja-vù as the history has repeated itself.

Doesn’t that scenaro rings you any bell?

In July 1960 the dismissal from Maison Dior made possible the rise of a young and talented Yves Saint Laurent to fame and success.

The fall-winter collection of that year was the last one designed by Saint Laurent for Dior.

Inspired by the nonconformist beatnik youth of the day, his knitted dresses with turtleneck collar and his “Chicago” outfit with its leather jacket did not sit well with the world of couture (even if the jacket was crocodile leather trimmed with black mink).

Nevertheless the collections of Saint Laurent set a new tone, in woman’s fashion. He was offering to men’s eyes a brand new kind of woman, with flat chest, bare arms, barely a hint of waist, openly unsexy.

Even if the press was really enthusiastic about it, Saint Laurent later recalled about his last effort at Dior:

“My final collection at Dior profoundly shocked the couture, though it was the first important definition of my style…Those street inspirations all seemed very inelegant to a lot of people sitting on the gilt chairs of couture salon….social structures were breaking up. The street had a new pride, its own chic, and I found the street inspiring, as I would often again.”

The revolutionary approach to fashion was seen as provocative action of a rebellious  young designer and Maison Dior fired Saint Laurent immediately.


The following year Saint Laurent decided to take Dior company to labor tribunal for illegal rupture of the contract and more importantly in December 1961 he opened his fashion house under his own name.  The designer Cassandre created the YSL logo with intertwined letters.

The first collection of the house of Yves Saint Laurent was presented in the freshly painted salons of 30b rue Spontini in Paris. There were a hundred and one designs.  He submitted them to the judgment of industry insiders and everyone agreed that 1962 was the year of rising young designers, who gained new attention from the fashion world and defined the major fashion moments of the decade.


My Final Thoughts

Even though the reasons of the dismissals of the two designers from Maison Dior are profoundly different as in terms of cultural background, taste and creativity, Galliano and Saint Laurent could not be more different, they share the same fate of being removed from their roles at Dior only to make a glorious comeback and make fashion history.

Their restless and troubled minds have had the power to challenge the status quo of the fashion world and define the different eras of fashion they lived in.