By Natalie Long, Deputy tabloid! Editor
John Galliano gave haute couture – previously reserved for the ladies-who-lunch set – a new lease of life when he joined Christian Dior in 1996, bringing his outrageous, visionary and theatrical inspirations and precise tailoring skills to the legendary house.
He’s credited by the fashion industry for reviving couture – and he’s not one to disagree. His collection, which takes place today, is one of the most eagerly awaited presentations during the three days of haute couture week.
Galliano spoke exclusively to tabloid!about what couture means to him.
How would you define haute couture?
It is unique, elitist, escapist and the most creative form of expression that fashion indulges. It cannot fail to inspire.
Do you think the meaning of haute couture is different today than it was 10, 20, 50 years ago?
Haute couture is constantly reinventing and evolving. When I started at Dior, all the papers were writing that the houses were dying – now that is so not so – couture has not only re-established itself, it has found a new niche, a new relevance, a new following.
To me couture is the purest form of fashion creation for connoisseurs that crave and desire this luxury to be constantly renewed. As long as people still dream there will still be a desire for fashion in this form.
[youtube width=”480″ height=”385″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KZGigOwqfk[/youtube]
People in the media and fashion industry were predicting the death of haute couture. So are you saying couture is back for good?
When I first came to Dior, as I said, people were trying to write off couture, but that was impossible.
It is not dying, it never has been – it was neglected and now is revived. Couture is the heart of Dior, of the great fashion houses of Paris.
In the last decade couture has found a new audience as well as re-inspired the established. The couture that was had to change in order to change people’s perceptions. Now it is exciting again.
What has changed to allow couture to survive?
When I came to Dior I was brought in to blow off the cobwebs – that was my brief. I think when Dior did this, all the others had to update their ideas too.
It was a time of great change amongst the couture houses, I wasn’t the only new face in couture. I think this shake up made couture exciting again.
The FÃ©dÃ©ration franÃ§aise de la couture had many new names on the calendar. Is this benefiting couture or diluting it?
I think that rules are always made to be broken – or at least bent… I think it is great that couture is inviting and attracting new designers as much as new names, how else will it survive?
How has the economic downturn affected the collection you will be presenting in July?
People still want to be inspired, still want luxury yet they want more for their money. The presentation will focus on the dream, the cut, the quality and what sets couture apart.
Can you tell us what we can expect from your collection?
I don’t want to spoil the surprise! You will have to wait and see but rest assured it will be worth the wait – it will be pure, beautiful Dior.