The show goes on for Dior

Mar 3, 2011   //   by Abbey Strutt   //   No Comments

Models present creations by British designer John Galliano for French fashion house Dior as part of his Fall-Winter 2011/2012 women’s ready-to-wear fashion collection during Paris Fashion Week March 4, 2011.

Models present creations by British designer John Galliano for French fashion house Dior as part of his Fall-Winter 2011/2012 women’s ready-to-wear fashion collection during Paris Fashion Week March 4, 2011.

Models present creations by British designer John Galliano for French fashion house Dior as part of his Fall-Winter 2011/2012 women’s ready-to-wear fashion collection during Paris Fashion Week March 4, 2011.

Models present creations by British designer John Galliano for French fashion house Dior as part of his Fall-Winter 2011/2012 women’s ready-to-wear fashion collection during Paris Fashion Week March 4, 2011.

Models present creations by British designer John Galliano for French fashion house Dior as part of his Fall-Winter 2011/2012 women’s ready-to-wear fashion collection during Paris Fashion Week March 4, 2011.

THE LOWS AND HIGHS: At left, John Galliano arrives for a hearing at a Paris police station after allegations of racist remarks last month. At right, he is pictured at the end of his Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2011 show in January.

The fashion elite turned out in support of couture house Christian Dior for its catwalk show in Paris on Friday (local time), three days after it fired star designer John Galliano over anti-Semitic comments.

Influential U.S. Vogue Editor Anna Wintour, department store buyers, supermodels, celebrities, wealthy aristocrats and the children of the man who founded the LVMH luxury group which owns the Dior label gave the collection’s team – sans Galliano – a standing ovation.

Dior’s team of assistants and seamstresses in white vests received applause from an audience, who also listened solemnly to Dior Chief Executive Sidney Toledano speak about the storm of controversy which engulfed the atelier just a week before Friday’s show.

“It has been deeply painful to see the Dior name associated with the disgraceful statements attributed to its designer, however brilliant he may be,” Toledano told the group assembled under a vast marquee in the garden of the Rodin Museum.

“Such statements are intolerable because of our collective duty to never forget the Holocaust and its victims.”

Dior – the jewel in the crown of the world’s biggest luxury group, LVMH – fired its chief designer on Tuesday for slurring anti-Semitic comments in a video in which he also expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler and appeared to be inebriated.

Cancelling the runway presentation would have meant the loss of an entire collection in which the company had invested heavily, as well as the loss of a season’s worth of orders from buyers sent by retail outlets from around the world.

‘The show must go on’

Some fashion insiders said they lauded Dior’s decision to forge ahead with the show.

“It was very appropriate in light of the situation,” Ken Downing, fashion director of the U.S. department store Neiman Marcus, told Reuters after the show.

A few critics and buyers had said this week they would boycott the show, but there was not a single empty seat before the models started strutting down the catwalk to a pounding techno beat mixed with melancholic violin music.

After the show, some customers said they planned to remain faithful to the brand despite the events of the last week.

“It is certainly not going to influence my purchases,” Baroness Arielle de Rothschild, part of the banking family, said.

Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova joined other celebrities at the show including Anouchka Delon, the daughter of French actor Alain Delon, who sat close by Antoine and Delphine Arnault, the children of LVMH boss and founder Bernard Arnault, who was not seen at the show.

“I am here to support the group LVMH,” Vodianova told Reuters before the show began.

Crying models

The collection was a mix of inspirations, part Gavroche from Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables novel, part musketeer with high-rise stiletto boots, silk shorts and oversized fur collars.

Many models walked out of the show crying.

“It was so sad,” said Ataui Deng, a 19-year-old model from Sudan based in New York, her eyes full of tears.

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