Galliano’s workload at Dior had a hand in exacerbating his problems but there isn’t much that anyone at Dior could have done; after all, his bosses confronted him about his problems and told him to get help at least twice before his firing. You could argue that it’s not Dior. It is simply the way that the industry is. Few people can withstand the pressures and constraints of being a creative director at such a big fashion house—an issue that appears to be worsening.
Of course, most people don’t let it get to the point that Galliano did. Many simply reach an amicable agreement with the house to leave when their contract is up, citing various reasons. However, this is happening at a much more rapid pace than ever before. This year has seen both Raf Simons and Alexander Wang leaving their posts at Dior and Balenciaga, respectively, after a relatively short period of only about three years to focus on their own namesake brands.
Compare that to the longer reigns of other well-known creative directors. Karl Lagerfeld has been the creative director of Chanel for 32 years and Fendi for 50 years, as well as being at the helm of his own fashion house since 1974. Marc Jacobs was at Louis Vuitton for 17 years. Even Galliano was at Dior for 15 years before he self-destructed.
So where is the suddenly increasing turnover of creative directors coming from? There’s the obvious danger of becoming burnt-out and exhausted from the demands of so many shows per year, but that has always been the case. Now, however, creative directors must consider not only the image they want to project on the runway but they must also cultivate the brand’s image on social media and digital platforms.
Plus they must do all this in the twin vacuums of the Internet and the fashion world–neither of which is known for a long attention span. One’s efforts must begin to feel disposable very quickly.