Bold and Quirky

VOGUE/AFP – “Restorative!” John Galliano declaimed. “The idea of giving something a new life…Kick-starting a new consciousness.” These were some of the resoundingly enthusiastic phrases Galliano poured into ears after his fall show via the post-show podcast he’s started to release in lieu of backstage interviews. In a gleeful glissando of cadences, he made up his own word for the recycling experiments he began then, and is now funneling into an official house label, which lists provenance and other details. “Recicla! Retch-ee-cla!” he cried. “The joy, the joy that we will be able to sell these pieces among the rest of the collection just thrills me.”

But before anything else, there was Galliano’s treat for the eyes to take in: an immersion in his unique colour-sense. Who else could pull off a palette that put tangerine next to brown and mustard, orange with pale mauve and electric blue, then could suddenly switch from odd pastels to an intense splash of red and deep shades of forest green? Cornflower blue, absinthe, loden green, turquoise, teal, primary yellow, and brown bordeaux, running from fragile chiffon washes to punchy solids—it was painterly, masterful. Galliano may have credited Edward Hopper’s paintings as his starting point, but his orchestration of innovative cutting and texture—by turns bold and delicate—took it somewhere all of his own.

It was beautiful to look at, this extension of the cutting up and re-sectioning of “bourgeois” classics that he’d begun with the haute couture cycle. The finale dress, a delicate thing made from laser-stamped lavender chiffon, was the “ghost” of a 1920s flapper dress floating back from a century ago. – SARAH MOWER