Bill Gaytten has been named creative director of John Galliano, following the departure of its namesake, who awaits the verdict of his public-defamation trial. For the role, Christian Dior CEO Sidney Toledano hand-picked Gaytten, who worked under Galliano for 23 years and took the final bow at the Galliano men's show on Friday in Paris. Reports WWD:
“It’s the same job for me; I’ve been doing it for a long time,” he demurred. “It was a bit different because John wasn’t there.”
Indeed, he confessed with a laugh: “I’m dying to know what he thinks!”
The appointment comes following New York Times critic Cathy Horyn's reports from LVMH sources that executives had been toying with the idea of reinstating John Galliano the man at John Galliano the label. However, at the Dior Homme show on Saturday, LVMH chief Bernard Arnault told Horyn that Galliano would definitely not return.
“He will not be working for LVMH,” Mr. Arnault said after the Dior Homme show in Paris. Mr. Arnault added that after Mr. Galliano’s arrest and dismissal from Dior for anti-Semitic statements, “he didn’t have the simple politeness to contact me.”
Gaytten will oversee the Christian Dior couture collection showing in Paris next week, surely fueling speculation he might succeed Galliano at that label as well. WWD notes:
However, it is understood all possibilities are being weighed at Dior, ranging from an anonymous design team — putting the brand on the pedestal — to a star talent from a rival house or hot label. Sarah Burton, creative director at Alexander McQueen, is said to be at the top of the wish list.
Gaytten has been well-received so far. Suzy Menkes writes approvingly of his men's collection for Galliano, calling the sportswear "fresh" and the evening looks "sharp." Galliano's signature darkness was absent, which Menkes thinks is a good thing:
But the soaring romanticism and the dark side of the original designer had inevitably — and perhaps rightly — disappeared, leaving a fine collection of accessible clothes to burnish the brand, which relies on licensees. They will find much to like — and sell.
Horyn asked Toledano how aware he was of Galliano's drinking and drug problems while he was employed. “There were concerns, and we warned him officially. I’ve talked to the lawyers for years.” Toledano said.