John Galliano is one of the busiest fashion designers in the world. Between his own collections and those he does for Dior, he produces six couture and ready to wear collections per year, and one mid-season range. And Galliano is never afraid to take his inspiration from strange sources. For one memorable couture collection, he took his inspiration from homeless people that he ran past each morning. Though couture is supposed to be extremely finished in appearance, he wanted to do what he called “turning it inside out.”
John Galliano’s latest collection borrows heavily from the 20’s and 30’s. There are flapper dresses, high waist, two piece swimsuits, and heavy fur coats that seem like they would be at home in an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. But there is something decidedly modern about all of the pieces. Although ruffles are considered “out of style”, Galliano decides that he will use them in any way he wants. The designs with ruffles are some of the best in the collection, and despite being “out of fashion” he manages to create a collection that will definitely stand the test of time. But he does not completely thumb his nose at the latest trends. Instead, he uses what he wants, and leaves the rest alone. On one flapper dress, there are two large rosettes. These are very large in size, and make the dress appear very voluminous. This was not typical of flapper dresses, however it is the fashion currently. Puffy, large, voluminous styles are in, and this is his contribution. It works very well, and instead of being a flapper reproduction, it becomes a modern flapper dress. There is another dress that has circles that encircle the bustline, and arch around the skirt portion. These add a lot of detail, and make for a much more interesting piece, without changing the style of the dress.
The entire runway scene is set on a beach, complete with a bench and a lifeguard sitting behind the models. Some of the models lounge on the bench before continuing their walk, some look as though they are walking up to water, and others call out as if they are asking their friends to join them. It is one of the most fun shows I’ve seen, but there isn’t any silliness or pretentiousness. Instead, it really appears that they are having fun, rather than just acting like they are having fun. This is notable, because other shows try for the same effect, but rarely achieve it. Last year, DSquared had a boardwalk theme and the models appeared to be superimposed on the scene, as if they were somehow transported to a boardwalk, without realizing that they were there. And much of the time, Heatherette has an unusual show, but it descends into an almost silly, frivolous atmosphere. Galliano’s collection is one of the few where it really seems as though you happened to walk into a scene from a late 1920’s beach. The people there are really having fun, and are going about their normal activities, and you are able to watch.
One of the things that John Galliano has mastered is the ability to create very detailed pieces that look as though he has done couture quality styling on them. Most notably, there is a pink coat that has an enormous volume to it. This coat is the kind that defined the very idea of Paris fashion, and convinced many people for years that clothing from Paris was superior to anywhere else in the world. This one coat is the type that most designers hope to create once in their career, but usually never manage. However Galliano is such an expert at examining ever small detail that he has produced an entire collection of pieces that are of this quality.
John Galliano has only begun his career, and with his amazing attention to detail, his ability to incorporate modern elements into old fashion favorites, and his shows that are events as much as runway shows, he will be around for a long time to come. This collection is one of my personal favorite collections of all time, but I have a strong feeling that I will continue to be impressed with each and every new creation he makes.