Tuesday, March 4, 2008


JOHN GALLIANO looked to the East for his own-name collection this season, tapping into the unstructured silhouettes and Oriental influences of Twenties design legend Paul Poiret. Quoting from Coleridge's famous poem Kubla Khan, guests to the show were invited to a "stately pleasure dome" and, on setting, Galliano never disappoints - one could devote whole reports to the lavish backdrops against which the designer reveals his sartorial stories (top marks to the model who took to the catwalk not only balancing on the sky-high platforms for which Galliano is notorious, but holding a crow as she did so).
On top of that, there's news for fans to check out: Right on time to catch the season's excitement about jewelry, Galliano is launching his own line, which liberally bedecked the girls in the form of oversized brooches and neckpieces.
But on to the clothes, which equally demand every ounce of attention from the spectator, complex and opulent as they invariably are. The autumn/winter 2008-9 show opened with pink brocade trousers pulled in at the ankle with a crotch that hung almost as low, a recurring theme throughout, and most beautifully reworked in sheer silk chiffons and teamed with cropped fur jackets and elegant day gloves. Short jackets were the order of the day, in boxy Twenties styles with wide collars, formal riding styles with hip-pockets and black buttons on claret wool, or chic, unstructured shawl shapes with wide bell sleeves and cross-over necklines. Seperates dominated, and what dresses did feature were often obscured by wildly voluminous coats or, deliciously, patterned knits - a gorgeous autumnal additon to Galliano's repetoire.
Flapper dresses (some so sheer they bared the model's breasts), ruffles, bows, tassels, feathers and embellished print shifts teamed with stark black over the knee socks upped the ante for evening, though in the world of John Galliano, a sense of occasion is ever skewed towards an overriding sense of the utterly fabulous - no matter where in the world, or indeed, at what point in history, one might be dressing.

A sense of the season did pervade the collection thanks to its emphasis on layering heavy outerwear over fragile fabrics beneath, and of course, through the beautifully evocative autumnal palette which was rich in burgundys, blushes, russets and navies, shot through with coral, orange and turquoise.

If it didn't make for one of Galliano's wildest collections, it will look good in stores. His delicious palette of dusty salmon pinks, pale blues, teals, and burgundies is guaranteed to reverberate amongst the sea of black that's destined to hit racks this fall. Galliano gets "it" .... very very well!