Stop the presses, Fashionista is reporting that Sarah Burton may be moving to Dior. Some of you follow Kate for the romance, others for the fashion, still others follow both. With that in mind, let me back up, way up, and start from the beginning. In 2011 Dior's creative director John Galliano got into a dust up in a Paris bar. I won't go into the nasty details, but he hurled some anti-semitic slurs in addition to some other things, and he lost his job, as well he should have. Dior needed a new creative director, and they made a rather unusual choice when they tapped Raf Simons in 2012. Simons was absolutely marvelous. If you haven't seen Dior and I, I highly recommend it. Simons whipped up his first show in just a few months, and he presented it in July 2012. At the time, an article in Vogue remarked:
One of the most talked-about debuts in fashion history, Simons' offering mixed his signature minimal, aesthetic with the pretty, femininity of Dior - signifying that the future of this iconic brand lays in very safe hands.
It was stunning. Flowers everywhere, gorgeous dresses that were both contemporary yet channeled Dior's incredible history for feminine and classic design. It was a magnificent collection.
As Simons was debuting his first collection I was spending my first long summer in France. I wasn't in Paris at the show, though. I was off spending some long (and incredibly hot hours) wandering Versailles all by myself...and falling completely in love with it. Versailles is one of my favorite historical "homes," if you can term something so precious and palatial a place a home. :) In 2013, Dior announced they would renovate Le Hameau de la Reine, (The Queen's Hamlet) which is the village Marie-Antoinette built to escape to a more rural and, I believe, visceral reality. For me it was the perfect marriage between a wonderful French brand and a historical site I love and that has deep history for the French people. I always buy Dior now.
It is a very, very special place and I love to wander Marie-Antoinette's sanctuary as she might have. To wonder what she thought and what she felt when she was there. It's wonderful, and I am so thrilled by Dior's continuing support. The collaboration resulted in stunning photoshoots, too, since Dior featured the Palace and grounds in a number of campaigns and often themed their make-up lines around Versailles.
Dior, Simons, and Versailles. It was perfect. Then, just a few months ago, Simons announced he was leaving Dior. It was an amicable split (at least publicly) but it really rocked the label and the fashion world. It had widely been believed that Simons would helm the brand for many years. Ultimately, I suspect he found the intense schedule taxing on his creativity. I think his short stint will still be viewed by history as an extraordinary tenure. Nevertheless, it has left Dior without a creative director. Which leaves us now hopping over the English Channel to where this story crosses paths with that of a certain Duchess of Cambridge.
It is April 2011, Galliano has just had his public eruption, but no one is thinking about that in London. Instead, all eyes are on Westminster Abbey and on Kate Middleton. It feels like the entire world is holding its breath to find out who designed the wedding dress of the decade. Hours before the wedding, a car pulls up to The Goring where Kate and her family spent the night and where the princess-to-be is preparing to head to the Abbey. As pictures of the hooded figure exiting the car circle, many fashionistas instantly know who had designed the dress.
The woman getting out of the car was Sarah Burton, and so the dress would be Alexander McQueen. This first collaboration with Sarah and with McQueen was a milestone. Her wedding dress was the gown in which Kate walked the bridge from Kate Middleton to a princess of the United Kingdom, but the relationship did not end there. Not only did Kate wear a second McQueen to her reception that evening, she has worked with Burton to make some of her most iconic royal ensembles.
Documenting the many McQueen ensembles that Kate has worn could take me literally half the night. Kate turned to McQueen often in the first year of her marriage, from public family events like Trooping the Colour:
...to high fashion-stakes events like the BAFTA evening in LA:
Kate has continued to work closely with Sarah Burton over the years. Clearly, she trusts her personally and creatively. Sarah has designed a multitude of bespoke pieces, including the ensembles Kate wore to both her children's baptisms, and one-offs for big events like Easter Sunday in Australia:
Many believe that some of Kate's UFO pieces are actually personal gifts from Burton, including this coat which bears a number of resemblances to Burton's tailoring style:
Most recently, Kate wore McQueen on Remembrance Day:
Fashionista just reported via Fashion Weekly Daily, that Sarah Burton is in talks with Dior regarding the open position of creative director. As high-profile as Alexander McQueen is, Dior holds an entirely other level of history and prestige. (No offense, but seriously. Dior? Big. Very big.) If this rumor is true I would be very pleased. The only question is, of course, would Kate follow Sarah Burton to Dior? Would our favorite princess begin sporting the iconic French label? She has started to branch out to other designers, including Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana, but given the very British events to which Kate wears McQueen I don't know if we can guess:
The exact quote from Fashion Weekly Daily:
According to high-level sources in Paris, Sarah Burton is reportedly in talks to take over the creative reins at Dior after Raf Simons’ unexpected departure after three years in the role. A representative for Dior declined to comment. Burton, currently the creative director at Alexander McQueen, has been working for the brand for the past 19 years, and took over the top spot in May 2010 following the death of the brand’s founder. Several industry insiders had speculated that Alber Elbaz was a top candidate for the role, but we hear that the designer has other plans. Meanwhile, Lanvin is said to be courting London-based designer Erdem Moralioglu. Watch this space for developments.
And yes, that final line has to do with another Kate favorite, but let's cross that bridge on a later night. To close, would Dior be a step too far? Or simply too foreign for the state occasions Kate usually taps McQueen for? I would be thrilled if Burton moved to Dior...and if Kate continued to work with Burton. It could all be a rumor, or Burton may be in negotiations that will end in nothing. Or, we might see Burton helm Dior. Time will tell!