When you can’t purchase self-love, you should buy classic Dior, and for Jeauni (pronounced “Joo-nee”) Cassanova, this sparked a journey with sudden rewards. The New Jersey artist has accrued 70+ items of John Galliano-era Dior goodness in fewer than 5 years. “It just all unravelled in front of me,” Cassanova laughs. “Every time I bought something, it would be my opportunity to fall in love with another collection and then buy more.”

For these in want of a reminder, Galliano was the inventive director of Christian Dior from 1996 to 2011. His tenure was outlined by unapologetic opulence and romance, the place fantasy and frivolity had been prioritized over operate. Because of him, we’ve the saddlebag, Kate Moss’s wedding ceremony robe and the long-lasting newspaper gown without end immortalized by Carrie Bradshaw in Intercourse and the Metropolis. “His designs celebrate divine femininity,” Cassanova explains. “Sometimes they’re sexy; then they’re rough or playful. He makes femininity multi-dimensional.” This can be a idea that the collector solely got here to phrases with just lately.

Cassanova has at all times been a hopeless romantic mesmerized by stunning issues. Itemizing Lil’ Kim, Girl Gaga and Marilyn Monroe as a few of their earliest influences, the collector explains that all of them share a “romantic connection with the world, a desire to be seen, loved and validated,” whereas additionally difficult the conventions of magnificence and femininity. Living proof: Impressed by Girl Gaga’s “Born This Way,” Cassanova wore gravity-defying heelless platforms day-after-day in highschool.

Quick-forward a number of years they usually went by way of what they describe as a “masculine boy phase” in response to feeling undesirable within the relationship world. “I had been through a very traumatic relationship where my partner used my femininity as a punching bag,” Cassanova explains. “So I put my feminine self in a cage.”

Name it divine (or designer) intervention, however one thing instantly clicked once they purchased their first Galliano-era merchandise in 2018. “Most of my pieces are emotional checkpoints for the relationship I have with myself,” Cassanova displays. “The more I surrendered to Galliano’s world, the more I was able to surrender to my own femininity.”

Enter the ruffles, romantic silhouettes and total reverence for camp that devour the collector’s closet. Quintessential ’90s and 2000s archetypes abound. Textures vary from outsized bouclé knits to luxe crocodile leathers. And your complete eccentric assortment reads like a wonderful fever dream.

However that’s to not say that Cassanova hasn’t skilled a number of nightmares. After buying a uncommon mini blue saddlebag from Dior’s Fall 2000 assortment, the collector took the purse to a leather-based restoration service. When it was returned, Cassanova noticed that it was ruined; they had been traumatized. “I sat on my front porch and cried in the rain,” they bear in mind. “I’d never seen this bag on sale before, so I thought I had destroyed a part of history.” Fortunately, they finally discovered somebody who might repair it, and the bag ended up trying extra classic than ever.

Regardless of the occasional sartorial heartache, Cassanova reiterates that the rationale for his or her reservoir is that the objects make them really feel probably the most like themselves. “During every step of my journey with Dior, I was slowly letting myself be free,” they share. “My collection is a love letter to my divine feminine self — it just makes me come alive.”

Cassanova describes this koi-pond set from Dior’s Fall 2003 assortment as “one of my most prized possessions.” It epitomizes the whole lot they love about Galliano: It’s impeccably designed, the lower is beautiful and it captures his love of romance and fantasy.

“Trying to find the full runway look became like an illness — I was obsessive about it,” shares Cassanova of this full blue ensemble from Dior’s Fall 2000 assortment. “I love a set. Something about it makes me feel like a real collector.”

Cassanova blames Carrie Bradshaw for beginning their obsession with these Dior rings. After seeing them on Intercourse and the Metropolis, the collector spent years searching for the total set at a good worth, as the fee went up by hundreds every year.

Whereas “subtle” isn’t a method that Cassanova sometimes subscribes to, they do adore the subdued indirect sample on this orange saddlebag. “I jokingly say that in order to see it, you have to lick it,” they chuckle. “I love that the details are reserved for those who get closest to you.”

“I never buy anything in person,” says Cassanova of their procuring habits. As an alternative, they frequent web sites like eBay, The RealReal and Vestiaire Collective and private sellers like Queen Vin. However to search out this bracelet, Cassanova regarded overseas to a Japanese on-line market, the identify of which they’re preserving to themselves.

Although this inexperienced cape isn’t by Galliano, it’s nonetheless considered one of Cassanova’s favorite items of their Dior hoard. The collector estimates that it’s from the ’70s, throughout Marc Bohan’s reign as inventive director. “This was my first piece of haute couture, and that in itself is a mega milestone,” they share.

Cassanova can’t bear in mind if their first Dior piece was this black jacket or the matching pair of shoes. Whichever it was, it didn’t take lengthy earlier than basic adoration become a full-blown dependancy. “Galliano’s pieces are like diamonds,” they are saying. “When you hold one of them up to the light, every angle shows something different.”

Can one ever have too many sneakers? Cassanova doesn’t assume so, which might clarify why they’ve 20 pairs from Dior. A selected favorite is that this pair of pink boots (which additionally they have in inexperienced) from the early 2000s.

“This jewellery is so fly girl, Y2K and tacky — and I simply love it,” says the collector of those Dior necklaces. “It reminds me so much of Lil’ Kim and her unapologetic display of logomania and consumerism. I love to throw it in here and there as a little nod to one of my biggest style inspirations of all time.”

These inexperienced boots are what began Cassanova’s fascination with Dior’s Fall 2000 assortment, entitled Fly Lady. “After I found these on Vestiaire Collective, I needed everything,” they reveal. “These boots were my first what I would call ‘p*ssy heel’ — they just ooze femininity.”

This text first appeared in FASHION’s October 2023 problem. Discover out extra right here.