John Galliano’s talent is indisputable, making his return to the fashion world if not necessary, at least very fortunate. Upon hearing about his decisive comeback in fashion as the creative head of Maison Martin Margiela, we became excited; although we are aware his transition came as a result of a well-thought and long-orchestrated resurrection of his career. Since then, he managed to revitalize his former line of work through a series of carefully selected interviews and limited public appearances.
In retrospective, Galliano’s not so modest beginnings had him spending a one year period at Givenchy before moving to DIOR. There, his later resonant name and the brand’s well-established structure became synonyms, forming a formidable alliance that lasted more than a decade. This is what has us wondering about Margiela and Galliano’s new love affair, and what it will look like.
Therefore, to celebrate Galliano’s comeback to the fashion world, we’ve gathered some of our favorite moment of his vibrant career.
First, the 1994 “Back from the Brink” collection. It was the first turning point in John Galliano’s career. The designer had a successful start in the industry, adorned with plenty awards and critical acclaim, although, as he later found out, appreciation only does not conclude with financial support of a brand’s future. Thus, in 1994, Galliano found himself at risk of losing his chance for worldwide recognition. With the help of Anna Wintour and André Leon Talley, Galliano won the support of Sao Schlumberger; a Portuguese socialite and fashion aficionado. She was the one to help him back the production and showcase the collection in one of her Parisian estates- a stunning 18th century hotel.
The setting was flamboyant with crystal chandeliers, antique mirrors and mismatched golden chairs. Seventeen beautifully tailored outfits, reminiscing of the 20’s flappers and the ever entrancing geishas were paraded on the improvised stage; making this one of our favorite stories about Galliano’s endeavors. It was romantic and it fully depicted the magnificent days of French couture.
Moving on to the DIOR period, when Galliano became known as L’Enfant terrible of the fashion scene; the designer at first seemed an odd choice for the French house. Galliano states: “The show has to speak without words. The stars are the designs. The models (are) the silent heroines that bring the drama to life.” In order to celebrate his vision, we will refer to a couple of our favorite shows during his stay at DIOR.
The 1998 Autumn/Winter couture collection A Voyage on the Diorient Expressor, depicted the story of Princess Pocahontas. The show was held at the Gare D’Austerlitz railway station in Paris. The garments were an eclectic mix of Native-American elements and sixteen century European dress style.
We cannot forget about Madame Butterfly and how she seduced the western world as the second story takes us on an epic journey through Galliano’s unique universe. Narrated in the couture spring/summer 2007 show, and inspired by Cho-Cho-San and her romance with Lieutenant Pinkerton; the story was built upon a runway displaying sweet geisha faces with painted red lips and full Kabuki-style make-up. Each model wore intricate origami folds and pleats of richly embroidered satins and silks. It was a show to remember!
Fast-forwarding to 2011 when John Galliano designed Kate Moss’s wedding dress. Apparently simple, the design for Moss proved to be a delicate example of mastering the technique of bias-cutting. According to his own words, the dress was inspired by the Jazz Age and Zelda Fitzgerald, the wife of acclaimed author F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was not only glamorous and a perfect choice for supermodel Kate, but also managed to start a boho-chic wedding dress trend.
From May 3rd 2014 and up until March 15th 2015, the dress, alongside two other Galliano designs, are included in the Wedding Dresses 1775-2014 exhibiton, at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum. So if you happen to visit London, don’t miss out on the chance to admire the masterpiece.
At the end, we’re leaving you in high anticipation of John Galliano’s debut at Paris Couture Week in January as the creative director of Maison Martin Margiela.