Five Minutes With John Galliano
On the second evening of private dinners and parties celebrating the Peter Marino designed Dior store on 57th street in New York, John Galliano was receiving journalists upstairs in a silver-painted V.I.P dressing salon. Wearing a black astrakhan hat, a single gold and pearl drop earring and pigtails packed with bobby pins, Galliano talked with W about the importance of resort collections, his shiny new store, and the honest sales people at Dior.
Natalie Portman was just named the face of Miss Dior Cherie.
Yes, I’ve been a fan [of Natalie’s] for a long, long time and then the opportunity arose where we could work together—and it’s just been a fantastic experience. We made some beautiful pictures together. I’m looking forward to seeing her film, Black Swan. I’ve heard nothing but great reviews.
The fourth film in the Lady Dior series, Lady Grey London, made its debut last week. How involved are you in the house’s fashion filmmaking?
I am very involved. The whole concept is my concept. The idea was to work with different photographers and different film directors and to choose different cities to feature the various Lady Dior bags. We follow Marion Cotillard, who becomes a different character in each [film]. And we worked with John Cameron Mitchell on the last one, which was Lady Dior Grey. Mert and Marcus did the photographs, and [John] directed the film we did for the Internet, which was really fun.
Peter Marino created the new store concept. Tell us about your working relationship with him?
He understands the clothes. I mean he’s really into fashion, and what he has created, the perfect backdrop for the collection, is a sort of high tech glamour—a beautiful salon to spend some time in. It’s great therapy… retail therapy, which we love. It’s kind of about the idea to take time to try the clothes on. People that work here pretty much know the collection very, very well and will give you an honest opinion, which is important I think.
Do the sales people often tell clients when a dress isn’t right?
If it’s not working, yeah, but there are always things that we can work with.
The store is launching with the resort collection. Is that just timing?
It’s timing, and this is actually the collection we showed in Shanghai. It’s the one that is delivered now worldwide and [resort has] become such and important collection, as is should—[the collection] is all structured and strong with great pieces. Great pieces, great jackets, trousers that you can buy and add to an existing wardrobe—to the Dior wardrobe, or to whatever wardrobe. You know [resort] is like a fresh take on red lipstick. It’s sort of a pick me up.
How do your clients in New York differ from those in Paris?
In every city [the women] are very different, very individual and their take on Dior is very individual. Whatever city I’m, in I find that very inspiring. As you know [women in New York are] highly groomed, glossy, as tall as the skyscrapers on the horizon—but each city and its take on Dior is completely different. The girls in Paris are very groomed, too. It’s a different thing. I think it’s how they take the pieces and wear them. There is a certain je ne sais quoi in Paris, a nonchalance that sets the divide. It’s a cultural thing.
Tell us about the art around the store. The floral relief (on the ceiling in the evening salon and designed by David Wiseman) is particularly beautiful.
I’m very interested in art and of course Mr. Arnault has a very keen eye on it. It’s not the first time we’ve worked with artists. We actually started to do it in Shanghai with contemporary Chinese artists, to see their interpretation of the clothes of the house of Dior. [The works] were then included in the store. So here [for the New York store] we’ve worked with various artists, and I’ll leave the rest as a surprise.
I also love the video wall (designed by Yoram Mevorach Oyoram).
Yes, that’s very clever.
How often are you in New York?
I actually come more often than people know but kind of under the radar for research. I see galleries, vintage markets, vintage dealers; walk around the streets—I go to Brooklyn. I pretty much go anywhere. I love New York. It’s really energizing. Not only while you’re here but when you go back home as well.
And back in Paris you are working on a number of collections?
Well, really I shouldn’t be here at all. I’m in the middle of preparing a pre collection for Galliano and in the middle of a pre collection for Dior and then finalizing the menswear, Galliano Homme for January. And right in the middle of the haute couture for January, haute couture Dior… So, yes, it is a really busy time—electrifying, energizing. But this is great. I’m going to go back [to Paris] with even more energy—so they better be awake when I get there.