Bill Gaytten presents his first Christian Dior Haute Couture collection

The Christian Dior label has become the first fashion house in history to present a haute couture collection without a named couturier yesterday, as a result of disgraced designer John Galliano‘s sacking earlier this year.

Though not official successors, the label’s new design team is now headed by creative director at Galliano’s eponymous label Bill Gaytten, and Susanna Venegas, who took the bow at the end of the autumn/winter 2011 catwalk show in Paris in the grounds of the Musée Rodin.

The show itself was eclectic, but seemed to bear the mish-mash of ideas from two designers, and somehow didn’t have the high-end jaw-dropping edge Galliano’s designs used to give.

The 36 outfits consisted of 1950s silhouettes, 1970s west coast-inspired hostesses and occasional Eighties references – there was even a ballgown-wearing Pierrot clown!

“We are used to being eclectic,” explained Gaytten after the show, who seemed to hint his unusual designs followed suit with the Dior ethos.

The obvious influence Bill sourced from Italian designer Ettore Sottsass could be seen amongst the pastel organza layered skirts, which looked as if they were embroidered with giant Dolly Mixture sweets, all topped off with glossy cube-shaped headpieces, reports the Guardian – but for us, the pieces lacked the dramatic mix of flamboyant and fabulous that Galliano’s had inherently.

Many looks were based on the iconc Dior rose, all of which were created in relief from layers of handcut frayed organza and taffeta, alongside a selection of plisse chiffon kaftans with handpainted stripes, turning the models into bouffant-haired butterflies from the 1970s.

It seems Bill has high hopes for Dior, but the label’s first couture collection without its extravagant designer wasn’t far from disaster. How the mighty have fallen…

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