Dior softens up under Bill Gaytten's hand for AW 2012 at Paris Fashion Week
A Bill Gaytten Dior show is an interesting thing. After years of high drama and over the top styling under Galliano's reign, seeing models with pared-down hair and makeup taking to the catwalk in simple, sophisticated putty and mauve tones and basic black feels very different indeed.
Of course different isn't necessarily bad; the collection is beautiful, wearable and feminine, but it does lack the 'wow' factor of previous Dior shows and takes the label in a softer new direction. Gaytten is less about spectacle, more about nice clothes.
Considering this is Autumn, the clothes had a very Summery palette, but this was made more appropriate for the season through fabrics - heavy wools, super-soft leather (in full skirts, twisted on tops and as panels on dresses) and thick quilted satin. Hats and gloves topped many looks, harking back to the era for which the label is best known. In some places, the fabrics resembled rich upholstery; one coat and dress combo came in a thick woven brocade, also seen on a tie-front dress with high neck.
Elsewhere, the show had ballet influences, with pretty ballgowns with net underskirts and satin bow bodices and sheer sections - somehow managing to be modern and chic, not cheap and childish.
It was all pretty, chic and accomplished, the colours were beautiful and the shapes classic and wearable. But I still found myself wanting more. The Dior of my generation has always been showstopping, not subtle. Gaytten will never take his final bow dressed as a pirate or buccaneer and adjusting to this may take a while, but I'm sure it will happen.