'Galliano lite' served up by label's new creative director
THE first John Galliano ready-to-wear collection under the label's new creative director had all the trappings of a classic Galliano display, but none of the outrageous excess that was the heart and soul of the brand.
Galliano was ousted from his signature label -- and from Dior, where he'd spent 15 years as designer -- in the wake of a March scandal over anti-Semitic and racist ravings during a series of drunken spats.
His longtime right-hand-man, fellow Briton Bill Gaytten, was named to succeed him as creative director of the house of Galliano and is also filling in at Dior pending the appointment of a new designer there.
Since he stepped into the spotlight earlier this year, Gaytten has presented three collections, and his strategy so far has appeared to be to serve up Galliano lite: looks that mimic the designer's signature styles, but are stripped of the over-the-top outrageousness that made them brilliant in the first place.
For his first ready-to-wear collection at the helm, Gaytten sent out the sort of flippy skirt suits and feather-light bias-cut silk dresses and gowns that have long been the house's staples.
But the styling at Sunday's spring/summer 2012 show was toned down: flat-topped straw hats were a poor substitute for the kinds of outsized headdresses Galliano models used to sport. And instead of the traditional thick layer of graphic war paint, the models wore only the lightest touches of tasteful neutral make-up.
While it would be difficult to fault Gaytten for Sunday's more-than-respectable showing, it was hard to get too excited about it either. In other collections, if Roberto Cavalli has come to define the kind of bling-bling clothes favoured by people aiming to look like billionaires, Hermes under new designer Christophe Lemaire is for billionaires who want to look like anything but.
For spring/summer 2012, his second ready-to-wear collection with the French heritage house, Lemaire fielded the kinds of almost austere garments you could imagine being at home at an ashram or a nunnery.