DANCING WITH DIOR
Founder of the 80’s band Haysi Fantayzee and as a surprise to most, a long time fan of Dior – superstar DJ Jeremy Healy has a lot more in common with maverick designer John Galliano than you would imagine. Thanks to a shared love of the unconventional approach to culture, it was inevitable that one day they would cross paths. Both lumieres were raised in South London and enjoyed a healthy interest in all spectrum’s of society and culture; a common bond which was forged by their social backgrounds as ´stereotypical London Ragamuffins.´ A natural partnership evolved, which went on to see them cross-pollinate ideas within the industry for names such as the late George Michael, Boy George and Katherine Hamnett.
This meeting of minds first occurred back in 1984, following Galliano’s legendary Saint Martin´s graduate collection show; which to say the least, struck Healy as unconventional, thanks to the models throwing dead fish at the audience. Healy himself was no slave to convention and curiosity took him backstage to meet the then evolving designer. It was this spontaneous meeting that lead to Healy and Galliano becoming involved in ´designing sounds´ for Galliano’s visual extravaganza´s whilst working at Christian Dior between 1999-2011.
“When the saddle bag was first launched back in the 90´s, John gave me one which was literally as big as a real saddle. I lost it travelling between three countries in three days. My only excuse is I was tired. I guess it’s still in a car boot somewhere.” – Jeremy Healy
Healy’s audio work was revered amongst the other experimental movers and shakers of the city. His innovative sounds involved mixing iconic pop tunes with classical music and this was a notion which was ideal for channeling his muse, Galliano’s, sensibilities to create a tour-de-force for every collaboration. Ideas flowed effortlessly between the artistes with combined inspirations and shared memories found everywhere – from street to studio, from London to Paris, and with no apologies for the often perturbing offerings from either creative mind.
Over several decades, their collaborations intensified with many tales to tell on the part of both; but it´s possibly Healy who trumps with his tale of ´disgusting Stephen Spielberg with a playback of vocals involving sexual sounds and the cracking of whips.´ Sartorial shock was set to become a recurring theme as the pair worked voraciously to create some of the most iconic runway shows that Dior has ever staged, both visually and aurally. Here are some of their finest.
“This was the second show we did at Dior. We were so bloody nervous! We wanted to mix film soundtracks with heavy beats and I remember there was a slight military theme. So we started out by using clips from the film Full Metal Jacket. We also included Phat Planet by Leftfield and mixed it with When You Believe by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. There was Beautiful Stranger by Madonna mixed with industrial, techno and trance songs – It even included the Nokia ring tone as an interlude.”
“This came from an idea that we had wanted to realise years before but never had the budget to do it. At Dior, we did! So, for this show, I hired the London Community Gospel Choir to perform live along with the mix I did for the show. I remember I was rehearsing with them in London and then we had to fly all the singers out to Paris. There were so many of them it was really expensive to do, but it was absolutely incredible. The choir did a rendition of Madonna’s Like A Prayer. I remember John was so proud of what we’d all achieved.”
“John had been to Egypt and had created a collection inspired by the country’s ancient history. This was one of the most OTT shows he ever did. The models were wearing gold armour and the silhouettes were huge. The models moved like Sphynx cats. I did a cut-up of Baby Boy by Beyoncé and Sean Paul and we just used the instrumental and isolated vocals and mixed it with Philip Glass to open the show. I also included You Got the Love by The Source featuring Candi Staton. John had said: ‘I want the soundtrack to sound like gold – to shimmer and shine.’ And so that’s what I tried to do.”
“The story behind this one is that John came up with this idea of rock’n’roll kings and queens. He wanted to create a royal family, wearing clothes that were blown up to a mad scale. For the soundtrack we got all these early 1950´s records – like Little Richard’s The Girl Can’t Help It and Tutti Frutti and we mixed it with Michael Nyman, which was very regal and orchestral of course. My mum came to that show – she was about 80 at the time – and she loved it.”
“This was quite a different show to any we had done before. There was so much music in this because it was a very long and very slow paced and emotive show. I remember the set was a load of sort of individual film sets and the girls were taking about 10 minutes each to walk into each scene from the runway. So the music had to be very ambient to carry it through. It started with Madame Butterfly by Malcolm McLaren and we also included Song to the Siren by This Mortal Coil and more of Elizabeth Fraser’s vocals, mixed into Drive by The Cars and Immortality by Céline Dion featuring The Bee Gees. Then there was Maria Callas singing Puccini’s O Mio Babbino Caro and Songbird by Fleetwood Mac.”
Article: Charles Daniel McDonald / Jeremy Healy