Post John Galliano, Bill Gaytten is left holding the mantle directing the brand that he has been serving for over twenty years. With Galliano’s departure still raw in the industries psyche, the fashion pack were out in force to the support the label, and the flaming torches that illuminated the approach to the runway promised a scorcher.
For the creative director’s second outing, Gaytten citied the thirties as an influence and the presentation followed the Galliano matra of narrating a story through clothes. It began in prohibition America as the original kingpin Al Capone inspired oversized silhouettes of double breasted suits, graphic checks and tweed baggy pants. Fox fur, patent leather and trilby hats fused luxury with a harder edge.
Next came a gaggle of henchmen who were dressed in flannels and military felted wool. Pea coats and crombies were worn with pencil thin trousers and then sports heroes inspired by Leyendecker’s 1930’s artwork wore gold leather tops, printed baseball jumpers and aviator leathers. Finally, the macho bad boys came out, attired in embroidered tops, fur t-shirts and patent shoes.
While all the elements of a Galliano show were there – the story telling, pumping house music, sharp tailoring and a sartorial elegance, there was a noticeable lack of energy and Galliano DNA. While the clothes were beautifully made and in-line with the brands aesthetic, the collection missed Galliano’s unique edge. This USP is the approach that pushes a collection to an extreme, adds a sense of humor, makes the story so convoluted it becomes ridiculous, and ultimately brings it to a brilliant place - and that was John Galliano’s own crown and this will always be hard to replace.