Webchat: Galliano Hommes

published on 24 October 2003

John Galliano, Nick Knight and the team took questions from the public from the set of an Arena shoot.

John Galliano, Nick Knight and the team took questions from the public from the set of an Arena shoot.

Comments and questions from live webcast 26-27 October 2003

Day Two:

Just setting up the first shot of the day and the models are ready and waiting.

Q: Andrew Davis, you're here on behalf of Arena magazine, in which this shoot will eventually be published. Can you explain its origins and what the key themes are? (Penny Martin, Editor, SHOWstudio)

A: The piece that we've been doing for the past two days will be a twelve page spread in Arena. It's an exclusive preview of John's first men's collection. We've referenced the photographer George Platt Lynes– the classic, Hollywood portrait photographer. The modern-day interpretation is that we're using 'real' characters, boxers, builders, scrap-yard dealers, city-traders, kind of 'rough' characters from society. The fashion has lots of key themes and details found in John's Womenswear collections. Particularly, corsetry detailing on cuffs and inside the jackets. There are also lots of personal elements from John's own wardrobe in the collection, from luxury sportswear to pirate. Arena readers are fashion-conscious and have a thirst for everything that is directional, new and progressive: this is the hallmark of John and Nick's creative partnership. (Andrew Davis, Fashion Director, Arena)

The Rolls rolls in for shot one and Tony's up on the bonnet. Meanwhile, the boys are being primped for shot two next door. A female interloper joins nails expert Marian Newman on the couch.

Q: Sam McKnight, how do you keep so on the cutting edge (excuse the pun) of hairstyling and do you enjoy working with Nick Knight? What makes you work with him more than other photographers? (Myles)

A: I've always lived on the edge, it's with me all the time! I've enjoyed a very creative, productive and successful relationship with Nick. Throughout my long career, I've worked with photographers such as Horst P. Horst, Bruce Weber, Irving Penn and it's a great inspiration to be working with Nick now, alongside the greats. I can't answer what allows me to stay at the cutting edge, if I knew the true nature of that intuition, I'd bottle it and sell it. (Sam McKnight, Hair)

Next up, it's John in front of the camera. Val's currently on grooming, off-camera.

Q: Will you be mixing Galliano Hommes with some other stuff in the shoot? Like, what? Does Mr. Galliano do total looks, with shoes and underwear and everything? That would be fabulous. Can't wait to see more. kiss, (Gert Jonkers- butt magazine, Amsterdam)

A: We've mixed a tiny bit of Angels & Bermans in, but not much. The collection ranges from underwear, footwear, casual wear and tailoring. Xx love Andrew (Andrew Davis, Fashion Director, Arena)

John has decided that he wants to use girls in the shoot too, so Stephen from the Atelier has been seconded to cast models in the make-up room.

Q: Val Garland, what's the difference between making up men and women? Do you use less? What approach are you taking today?(Jo Rawlings, Margate)

A: There is no difference really, it depends on the brief that you're given for the shoot. The brief for today was 'minimal reality': the way the boys looked when they walked in was basically the way they looked when they went on set. For John, because we're shooting him in black and white on grainy film, I highlighted his contours, so where light will hit his face, it will reflect. There is highlighting above his cheekbones, and contouring below, in a manly kind of way. Because he's in a shadow inside the car, I've defined his eyes, using kohl, to make him look more mysterious. With John, it's all there anyway, so you're just pulling out his bone structure. (Val Garland, Make-up)

Q: Nick, what will be your process for bringing out the 'bling-bling' in Galliano'snew men's collection? (Jason Fosco, New York City)

A: Shimmer filters and Vaseline. (Nick Knight)

Q: John, I read in The New Yorker that you exercise passionately. Do you find that exercise removes the edge from your more eccentric creative side so that your ideas are more conventional, or rather allows you to come up with even better unusual ideas than if you're not exercising? (Todd Hart, Shoreditch, London)

A: It allows me to come up with better, more unusual ideas. (John Galliano)

Q: Hi John, Good luck and have fun! (Stephen King)

A: Thank you. (John Galliano)

Q: I must say I take a lot of inspiration from your creative process, but I was wondering where you get yours and is it something you rely on as a constant source? (Nick Lakey, PBC Group, Marlow)

A: I get it from travelling, music, exhibitions, just walking down the street. Yes, I'm just tuned into my surroundings, in an unconscious way. (John Galliano)

Q: Hello John, What are your influences when designing a menswear collection? In what way has designing for women influenced your menswear? (Helena di Signori, Mother55, Paris)

A: You could say that the menswear is really a reflection of my personality. I pretty much approach designing the menswear as with the womenswear, but with different results, we hope! (John Galliano)

Q: What's the motivation behind the launch of your new menswear collection? (Humphrey, PROFILE MEN, London)

A: It was a natural evolution of the expansion of the Galliano brand and due to many of my mate's demands. (John Galliano)

Q: 'Heavily tattooed man' and 'Afro-man' are called to set to begin the shot that will open the magazine story ??Are you working on a Galliano fragrance, concept, name? (Jean-Pierre van Jaarsveld, South Africa)

A: I am working on a fragrance, concept, packaging, scent. All very exciting! (John Galliano)

Q: John, is it true that you don't do any actual designing yourself? If yes, who is the chief designer behind the Hommes line? (Electroheksen, Island)

A: I do all the designing for both the Dior and Galliano lines. (John Galliano)

Q: Dear John, so I'm getting a new boy friend! Will I fall passionately in love? Will I still be your 'Favourite'? (Helena & Nicolas, Mother55, Paris)

A: Absolutely. Forever. (John Galliano)

Q: John, are you in love? (Florencia Pomar, Buenos Aires)

A: I'm a hopeless romantic. (John Galliano)

Q: John, will the Hommes range be for Galliano boys as opposed to men? (Jean-Pierre van Jaarsveld, South Africa)

A: The range appeals to quite a large male audience, and a lot of my girlfriends have been saying that they like quite a few of the pieces too. (John Galliano)

Q: FAO Michael Howells (Set Design): Lovely to see you although very strange, the pictures are saved for your next visit! What was your input? Hope to see you soon, Love from all, (Mathew Pegler)

A: Yes, the environment of the studio is very strange. Having to build little scenarios to transport the viewer of the final photograph into the world that we are describing, the set is used as a narrative as much as the hair, make-up or costume. In this instance, we have a surreal desert for the dressing room. While the pieces that we are photographing are made with far simpler elements, such as plastic sheeting, industrial fabrics and some constructed geometric forms. (Michael Howells)

Q: Where and when will I be able to buy the Galliano men's collection in London? (Grant Woolhead, Arena Hommes Plus)

A: The collection will be available from January at Harvey Nichols, Browns and Selfridges. (Andrew Davis, Fashion Director, Arena)

Q: Andrew Davis, how does shooting with Nick Knight and Galliano compare to serving sandwiches to Richard Madeley and do you have any fun stories about your days of serving him? (Unidentified Sender)

A: It's a prawn sandwich! Working with John and Nick's not as fishy! (Andrew Davis, Fashion Director, Arena)

Q: Andrew, have you paid your gas bill? (Anna Su)

A: Yes! (Andrew Davis)

Q: Hi John, I'm really curious about this 'lots of personal elements from John's own wardrobe in the collection, from luxury sportswear to pirate' that's been written in the transcript. Did you really bring stuff from your own wardrobe, like your old Nike t-shirts or Calvin undies or Bruno Magli loafers or whatever? (Gert Jonkers, Butt Magazine)

A: The collection contains more of my personality and way of putting clothes together than literal elements. (John Galliano)

Q: John, will there be a close, authentic relationship between the Femme and Hommes range? (Jean-Pierre van Jaarsveld, South Africa)

A: Yes, absolutely. I feel men have been short-changed for long enough. (John Galliano)

Q: John, have you at any stage been interested to do the Dior Hommes range? (Jean-Pierre van Jaarsveld, South Africa)

A: My hands are pretty full at the moment! (John Galliano)

Q: John, when will you open a Galliano store in New York? Now that you have a men's collection, will we soon see Steven sporting JG instead of his ubiquitous Lacoste shirts...? Sending all of you lots of love... (Willy)

A: I'll be opening a store as soon as Stephen starts wearing the gear! Missing you (John Galliano)

Q: Jez, Ben, Dominic, Evan, What do you get out of this? (Paulo, Treviso)

A: As photographic assistants to Nick Knight, we get the most amazing experience and the opportunity to continue it for the rest of our lives, in our own way. Mentally and physically it's rewarding, as well as inspiring, because you get the chance to be responsible for making sure Nick can create the shots in his head, on film. (Ben Dunbar-Brunton)

Q: Nick, do you feel in control? Whose show is it? (Paulo, Treviso)

A: It isn't about control. It's about collaboration. 'Control' implies an atmosphere of unhealthy power struggle: it is really a group thing. (Nick Knight)

Q: Does it help being a straight man, photographing women? If so, are there difficulties in eroticising men? (Janwe Sufa, Hungary)

A: I never make a division between men and women. I regard everyone I photograph as people. (Nick Knight)

Q: Nick, since this is an editorial shoot, are you shooting film or is it digital? What percentage of your advertising shoots are digital? (John Casado, San Francisco)

A: It's all shot on Polaroid: 10x8. I don't shoot anything entirely digitally as there has been no trustworthy or fail-safe way of archiving the images. (Nick Knight)

Q: Hi Nick, Have you ever wanted to direct films? (Timothy Keenan, Belfast)

A: No, I don't see films as a natural progression from still photography. I think more excitingly, there's a new medium facilitated by the Internet which could be called 'moving image'. (Nick Knight)

Q: Why does George Platt Lynes' work interest you? Why did you choose him over other photographers that concentrated on the made nude such as Mapplethorpe or Weber? (Brutus Sylvester, Sydney)

A: I think he's been influential to other photographers, for instance Mapplethorpe or Weber. Platt Lynes' is an interesting take on masculinity, he mixes the ultra-feminine side of the masculine psyche with the more commonly-accepted, stereotypical take on masculinity. (Nick Knight)

Q: Nick, how many assistants do you have on average per shoot and how do you select them? (James Maclay, Imagination Ltd, London)

A: Three on average and they need to have the right character to fit into a team. (Nick Knight)

Q: Can we see more of the models and less of the back of Val's head please? (Simon Foxton, London)

A: Simon, we'll do our best, but Mr Afro went home before we could arrange the requested full-length. (SHOWstudio)

Q: I really loved your Haute Couture at Dior! What was your inspiration of the latest show?? Inspirations for the January show? (Kristoffer Karpowicz)

A: Dance, flamenco, right through to modern. The idea was that each particular model had danced in the clothes for a long time, which inspired the cutting of it. A tango dress looked like a Tango had been danced over it. Write back after January and then I'll let you know the inspiration behind the next Haute Couture! (John Galliano)

Q: I was adapting some ideas from Galliano Women and Dior Women Lines for dress myself, stealing details and some attitude. I am so poor, so I think it is very unlikely I'll be able to buy some pieces of Galliano Hommes. Anyway I will wear Galliano in my way, and I love you a lot!! (Jimmy, Cajamarca, PERU)

A: Keep wearing it and enjoy fashion. Love, John. (John Galliano)

Q: John, congratulations on yet another soon-to-be success story. In approaching men's clothing, as a designer, do you draw distinctions between the 'masculine'and 'feminine', 'hetero' and 'homo'? Or is it all just clothing? (Kibwe Chase-Marshall)

A: I try and incorporate both masculine and feminine qualities in masculine attire. (John Galliano)

A suspect package on the London Underground disrupts the Westward through-flow of models to the studio. The evening session begins with two-to-three shots to go... ??The dancer's limbering up for the final shot of the day.

Q: Whoever, what does it sound like there? Can we hear what is happening? (Sylvie and Clancy, Baton Rouge)

A: There are various compilation tapes playing, mainly made up by Nick Knight. Earlier, the make-up room was a-flood with The Human League, courtesy of Sam McKnight. I'm afraid that we can't stream sound at present, but it's certainly something we are looking into for the future. (Penny Martin, SHOWstudio)

Q: Nick, has the shoot gone as intended? To what degree do the stakes change during the day? (Jorge Simmel, Lisbon)

A: The shoot has gone a good 90% as I intended. Had I the chance to change it, I don't think I would. It went pretty much to plan. (Nick Knight)

Q: John, menswear collections by womenswear designers have been such a let down. What makes yours so different? (Mr. Jerry Seguin)

A: My integrity! (John Galliano)

Q: Andrew, Has Arena got what it wanted? (Clare McDade, Uphall Station)

A: Arena got more than it bargained for! We have ten amazing images that all look like campaign pictures. The day has been a total success. It still hasn't hit me that Arena, John Galliano and Nick Knight all have collaborated! (Andrew Davis)

The webchat and the shoot have now ended.


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