Dior day looms for John Galliano

Fashion wars: British designer poised to take over top job at French house
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The Independent Online
The countdown is nearing zero in Paris as the confirmation of John Galliano's appointment at Dior is expected on 15 October. The announcement will be no surprise.

But it comes at the end of a lot of speculation which has moved from Christian Lacroix and Jean-Paul Gaultier, both of whom have turned down the position, to Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen.

All eyes are now on McQueen, the young anarchist from the East End of London with an eye for precision tailoring and a talent for capturing the headlines. The 27-year-old is expected to take over at Givenchy in place of Galliano.

Until recently, the designer who invented the bumster trousers was adamant that the only couture house he had his eye on was Yves St Laurent. The offer from LVMH (Louise Vuitton Moet Hennessy) has been too much to turn down. He is expected to sign the contract this week.

Gianfranco Ferre showed his last collection for Dior yesterday, with the highlights - and some of the many lowlights of his past eight years at the house. There were polka dots nipped in suits, peplum jackets, Dynasty shoulder pads and frothy candy coloured cocktail dresses.

By the time of the haute couture shows in January, Galliano is expected to have transformed the house as he has done with Givenchy. Sales at Givenchy are up 80 per cent on last year. Whether the customers who have only just caught their breath after Galliano's appointment only two seasons ago can have faith in an even younger, less experienced Alexander McQueen remains to be seen.

The job at Givenchy might seem a fairytale opportunity of a lifetime, but it would be tragic if McQueen's own label - the highlight of London Fashion Week - were to suffer in the process. McQueen may be helped in his decision however, by the knowledge that in 1957 a young Yves St Laurent took the job at Christian Dior at the tender age of 21, before setting up his own couture house in 1960.

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