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There's the most spectacular interview in WWD today with Dior creative director John Galliano, who was in New York for the unveiling of the renovated Dior flagship on 57th Street. Some of our favorite interview moments:
Some designers elude even him:: "This [pulling at his jacket sleeve] is a great kid, but no one knows about him. He’s an English boy called Paul Harnden. You’ll find his stuff in L’Eclaireur. I’ve told my French friends and they’ve gone in there to try and find out about him, but he’s very Greta Garbo. He does that rough kind of tweed and stuff. I buy all my stuff from him. I can’t get ahold of him. I believe he lives in England by the sea. Paul, we love you! If you get to read this piece."
Never go shopping with friends: "Don’t ever go with a girlfriend! Leave her in the car park. Because she’s only shopping for herself and her boyfriend — not for you. The last person she’s thinking of is you. It’s the same thing with boyfriends. Don’t go shopping with boyfriends. They’re only thinking of themselves, too. Place your trust in the manager, the guy who knows the brand, who will tell you the story about the finish or these little loops and blah, blah, blah, blah. And choose somewhere where the light’s not too bright. And enjoy it. Enjoy!"
On e-commerce: "Online shopping — oh, no. I didn’t even know what e-commerce was until last week. I like the experience. I like to feel the fur, to smell the tweed. I like the service. I love that you go into Hermès wearing your trainers and they still say, ‘Oh Mr. Galliano, may we brush your shoes?’"
On his work process: "Well, you know, I immerse myself in research. I travel geographically, historically. I create a muse. She can be fiction. She can be fact. She can be made up or a mix of different fabulous women that I know. I like to work with a narrative. The narrative then evolves. From there, sketching starts. And then I go straight on the body. We try to create volume and shapes and try to define the lines, especially if it’s haute couture, we try to define the line. And then it’s working very, very closely with the ateliers, hand-in-hand with the artists, fabric manufacturers, beaders, all those great artisans who exist in France. Then I don’t know, before you see the final garment there could be up to 18 toiles before you reach the final, which can still be rough. Because in the true spirit of haute couture, the girls come in the night before and everything is fitted so you can’t actually fit it any earlier. They come in and there’s a whole organization, which is actually quite incredible. I’m sure you’ve been around ateliers and a bit breathless to see every single piece in pieces."
And then there's this fantastical bit starring Kate Moss and a surprise birthday party she threw for him in London last week:
J.G.: It was last week. I’m like all the old actresses who have an official birthday and an unofficial birthday. This was my unofficial one. I started to organize it with a friend in Paris but it got all out of hand. It was going to turn very corporate, so I said, “Uh-uh-uh.” It’s just not the birthday you want to start bragging about. The big 4-0. [He exaggerates the number, to indicate that he has shaved off a few years.] So I said, “OK, we’ll move it to London.” I said, “I just want to do something quiet. Could we just go under the radar? Maybe to someone’s house?” Anyway, Kate and my friend Francesca [Cutler] arranged it, a surprise. We went to the new bar that just opened at the Savoy. It’s very Deco, very beautiful. I arrive and there were fantastic creatures there that I hadn’t seen for like twenty years, the London posse. And then they introduce the acts. David Bowie had come over to perform for me followed by Diana Ross followed by Tina Turner and then Barbra Streisand.· John Galliano on Dior, Fashion and Style [WWD]
WWD: Oh stop!
J.G.: No, you stop! And then the last person who came on was Michael Jackson! They were all impersonators! It was so English and so tawdry! It was fantastic!
WWD: We can’t put this in the story?
J.G.: Of course you can. — it’s a true story! So I go outside for a cigarette with Kate, OK? She has this little jumpsuit on with little sequins. She looked gorgeous. Some dirty old man walks by and goes, “Oh, you do that really well. You could be a model.” She goes, “F--- off! I’m too short!” Then this limousine turns up, this shiny limousine and this fantastic, chic woman gets out with the shades on and the bodyguards. Me and Kate look each other and we’re like, “Oh!” You don’t do that in London. Unless you’re Elvis Presley, you don’t do that. So this wonderful creature comes up to me, takes the glasses off and goes, “John!” And I go, “Hi?” I still didn’t quite know what was going on. She goes, “It’s Isabelle.” It was Isabelle Huppert, one of France’s greatest actresses, who had been giving a press conference and just turned up. So she goes, “What are you doing here?” and I said, “Oh we’re just having a little party celebrating my 40th. Would you like to join us?” And I’m like, “Shit, how do I get out of this one?” “Lexie, Lexie, it’s Isabelle! You’ve got to look after her.” She had the best time because I kept asking her if she was OK and she would say, “Laissez-moi! Laissez-moi! C’est une scene que ne j’ai jamais vue!” [“Let me be! Let me be! It’s a scene I’ve never seen before!”] Because the English posse were really going for it that night. She loved it. There were these kids who were break dancing to Michael who were twins. [Galliano extends an arm to approximate their height — perhaps that of an average eight-year-old.] One’s blonde, one’s brunette. They were break dancing, diving. But there was like a time lapse of something like six seconds. Twins do that apparently. It was the most weird thing to see. It was incredible.