Photo Credit: Penélope Cruz wearing the Tatyana Usova Inspired by Velázquez coat, haute couture autumn-winter 2007, Le Bal des Artistes, photographed by Annie Leibovitz, Vogue U.S., December 2007. ANNIE LEIBOVITZ/TRUNK ARCHIVE/COURTESY OF DIOR
From the midnight blue satin slip dress Princess Diana wore to the 1996 Met Gala to a canary yellow tulle garment from his last haute couture design for the French fashion brand in 2011, a new coffee table book focuses on John Galliano’s works for Dior, inspired by illustrator René Gruau.
The 448-page book, published by Assouline, is the fifth installment in a series commemorating each of Dior’s creative directors. It combines pictures by Laziz Hamani with images by Richard Avedon, Peter Lindbergh, and Paolo Roversi, and was written by Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu curator in charge of The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
“It’s no secret that I’m a tremendous fan of John’s work,” Bolton said in a statement to WWD. “Especially his work at Dior, which we’ve been aggressively collecting over the years.” “There are so many parallels between [Christian] Dior and John – they’re both devoted romantics and inspired storytellers, they both have a profound regard for history, and they both love and understand the creative potential of haute couture,” he added.
“John’s brilliance was in extending and broadening Dior’s aesthetic language via creative transfigurations, and in matching his trends with the spirit of the times.” His work for Dior encapsulates the escapism and fantasy of the 1990s and early 2000s. In fact, history would have had to manufacture him if he hadn’t already existed,” Bolton concluded.
He made fashion history from 1997 to 2011 with grandiose designs inspired by anything from the Maasai tribe to the Ancient Egyptians, conjuring inspirations such as Marlene Dietrich and the Marchesa Casati. He was also noted for his theatrical bows, in which he dressed up like a matador and wore a space suit.
“It was a very special project for me because John and The Met have a long history together,” Bolton said. “During his tenure at Dior, John would frequently come to the museum for inspiration, and we’ve featured many of his haute couture designs in our shows throughout the years.” In fact, if you counted the number of things we’ve exhibited, it’d be the equal of a one-person performance.”
The British designer has a complicated history with Dior: he was praised during his 15-year tenure for his irreverent reinvention of the brand founded by Christian Dior, but he was fired in 2011 after a series of drunken altercations in which he uttered racist and anti-Semitic insults in a Paris café.
Galliano went to rehab for his addictions and returned to the fashion industry in 2014 as the creative director of Maison Margiela. In 2017, Dior included his work in their blockbuster 70th-anniversary show at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, recognizing his contribution to the house.
A representative for the house stated that “Dior John Galliano 1997-2011,” which will be published in English or French, would be available for pre-order on Jan. 11 ahead of its official publication on Feb. 15.