Ever since the anti-Semitic rants of a bacchanalian John Galliano hit YouTube, the media have been enthralled with his story. A Greek tragedy really, the drug abusing, selectively amnesic creative genius had appeared to have gone mad and in the process, lost everything. Racist comments get you charged in France and John Galliano’s criminal trial was scheduled for the first day of Paris Fashion Week. Despite the courtroom drama and rumors of the possible rehiring of the disgraced Galliano, the overlords of the label that bears his name made certain that the show went on. Lost in the drama of the ordeal was long-time Galliano collaborator Bill Gaytten’s under-the-radar appointment as the Creative Director of the label.
A hypnotic backdrop of rhythmically blinking 3D bullseye lights reflecting down a mirrored-chevron runway to the ironic remix of The Who’s Can’t Explain, seemed more like an orchestrated psycho-hypnotic session than a simple fashion show. Psychoanalytics aside, it must have worked because everyone was focused on the remarkable post-JG Big Splash themed collection that was inspired by the 1974 David Hockney documentary, A Bigger Splash.
The Spring/Summer 2012 Collection was pure Galliano in spirit. Hard to argue against the show being a full on tribute to the man. The styling of the first act and the Gallianesque models of the fourth left no doubt in anyone’s mind that this was a tip of the hat to the Great One. A hefty serving of Hockney-inspired thick round black-rimmed specs, knitted striped ties, colourful socks, and limp bow ties of the second act presented Paris with some of the hottest geek-chic looks in years. Throw in a feathered Mountie, some Latin lovers in matador embroidered evening wear, and a few beautiful swim trunks on ripped studs a lá DSquared2 and you got yourself one serious collection. Kudos Mr. Gaytten, you kicked ass.