Bill Gaytten is making John Galliano The Label his own – as he ought to, of course. The collection he showed yesterday was of such contrast to what’s come before though that it took a moment or two to digest. In a way, Gaytten sought to elevate control and discipline to the same platform as excess and overindulgence. It was admirable and at times it worked but it was difficult to love - perhaps that was the point. As an exercise of finding a new identity it was akin to taking down a nightclub to build an abstinence centre.
The opening look of deep plum tailoring cinched in the waist with a wide belt worn over slim trousers and ankle boots defined the designer’s head-to-toe proposition. The neckline was high and whatever skin was left bared by the cropped trousers or skirts it was covered by leggings tucked in the boots. A wide black top with a monastic collar looked strong with a below-the-knee skirt, the fabric in both in subtle ripples and with her military cap (by Stephen Jones) and gloves the model looked intriguing and mysterious. The few times Gaytten allowed himself to get closer to the body were revealingly the best – a short rounded jacket with a wide short sleeve over slim trousers, a gorgeous black dress with a fringed braid running around the torso, a blue body-hugging long-sleeve dress with just some ruching to allow movement that looked almost sinful in that lineup. But these were interruptions to the main story of wide shorts with wide tops and wide dresses with wide coats in scratchy and fuzzy prints. Broken apart, hanging on a rail they would be attractive options for some women but here they felt forbidding. Towards the end, Gaytten let himself loose and the beautiful long dresses he presented, the pleated see-through layers exposing a flash of pink or red, the knotted top of another belted and then dropping to a lightly pleated skirt could not help but make your heart flutter. That is not a sin.