Following a dramatic Milan Fashion Week which was overshadowed by the sacking of Dior’s creative director John Galliano after reports of anti-semitic comments, last Friday Paris Fashion Week hosted Dior’s Autumn/Winter show, which displayed Galliano’s last collection for the French fashion house.

There was a tense atmosphere leading up to the show, as members of the fashion community anticipated whether Dior would be able to repair their image, damaged by one of the most infamous designers in the industry. Unsurprisingly, there were no celebrities in the front row, with the possibility of attendance meaning support of John Galliano and his behaviour. Natalie Portman, face of Dior’s ‘Miss Dior Cherie’ perfume, spoke out against Galliano prior to the show, telling the Associated Press “As an individual who is proud to be Jewish, I will not be associated with Mr. Galliano in any way.”

Sidney Toledano, CEO of Dior gave the following statement to a subdued audience before his models walked: “Since the creation of Christian Dior in 1947, it has been an exceptional trajectory. Christian Dior carries the image of France and of those values around the world. What has happened to us today is a challenge, the fact that the name of Dior can be mixed, by the intermediary of its designer (however brilliant he may be), with these intolerable remarks is very painful. Intolerable because such remarks are unacceptable – in the name of our duty of memory, in the name of all the victims of the Holocaust, in the name of the respect of all people, in the name of human dignity. Painful, because everyone at Dior has given his body and soul for their work and we are stupefied and saddened by these unqualifiable remarks. Painful, because it comes from someone who we appreciated for his remarkable creativity. More than ever, it is necessary today to remember that before us all are the values of the house of Dior.”

“In 1947, Christian Dior created the house; what he wanted to do then was to liberate women after the dark days of the war and to give them lightness and happiness. He, who saw his family ruined by the 1929 bank crisis, he whose sister was deported to Buchenwald. Christian Dior knew how to give joy and to make people dream. The value of Christian Dior is its excellence in everything to do with refinement, know-how, unique artisanship, respect of others; the will to bring not only beauty but also happiness to his clients. He wanted to be a magician, to make women beautiful and to give them the assurance which made them more feminine and sublime. For more than 60 years he has contributed to the influence of French culture throughout the world. His values are still intact today. Those values are carried by his teams and the ateliers who put all of their energy and their talent to the service of this extreme femininity, in the respect of the tradition of savoir-faire and the modernization of techniques. Those ideals are at the heart of the house of Christian Dior, a heart that beats and that we don’t see, made up of the teams and the ateliers. All these “petit mains” who carry on day after day without ever counting the hours are the values of the house of Monsieur Christian Dior. These workers have a heavy heart today, what you are going to see now is the result of their immense work.”

The show itself was a success, with a strong focus on transparency, lace and chiffon. The usual Galliano-esque hair and make-up was replaced with more grown up fur stoles and hats, indicating a look to the future and a move away from recent collections which have been dominated by Galliano’s eclectic style.

Replacing Galliano’s signature runway walk to close the show, all of the Dior ateliers took a bow and applauded the audience, making a moving finale to what was one of the most momentous fashion shows in recent years, albeit for the wrong reasons.

Christian Dior have dealt with this crisis with grace and pride and have shown that they are more than one man. They are Dior.

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