The Italian designer Gianfranco Ferre showed his last haute couture collection for the House of Dior yesterday in Paris. His successor has yet to be announced, but the house that Christian Dior founded with his controversial New Look collection in 1947, looks set to be revamped in the style of Givenchy, where John Galliano has generated massive publicity and blown away the cobwebs. Dior and Givenchy are both owned by Louis Vuitton/Moet Hennessy.
The "giant haystack" designer was given a standing ovation by the audience. Mr Ferre took over from Marc Bohan, who took the job from Yves Saint Laurent in 1960. Saint Laurent was the designer Dior chose to succeed him shortly before his death in 1957.
There are rumours that the American designer Marc Jacobs may take the post, but the doors must be wide open. Last season, the avant-garde minimalist designer Helmut Lang was rumoured to be taking over at Balenciaga and a fresh young name could make Dior an innovative house again. Britain's Vivienne Westwood, with her flair for fashion history, could be the woman for the job.
Ferre's final collection for Dior was on the theme of the Orient, with clothes for Indian princesses and an Arabian Scheherazade - a fantasy woman not far from the reality of clients who may order a gold lace embroidered one-shoulder sari, or a fitted jacket encrusted in embroidery and heavy with gold lame.
The pieces most likely to sell were the simple fitted suits, a diamante striped trouser suit for evening, or a candy-pink column dress and mohair coat.
The model Naomi Campbell did not seem much enamoured of the clothes she was wearing, and made rapid passages down the catwalk.
Men's fashion, Section Two
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