Newly appointed Creative Director Bill Gaytten seemed a crass topic to discuss or visualise this season. Fashion, more than ever becoming a business, doesn’t stop turning for anybody. Not even when the former Creative Director, John Galliano, stood trial a mere 48 hours before the showcasing of the new Galliano S/S ’12 collection. Jumping into the anti-semitic grave with good intentions is bound to cause a rather pressurised stir.

 

Fashion journalists globally are to be noted for not reporting on the events surrounding Galliano objectively. However, if one is to be subjective and go against every journalistic quality that is sought after professionally then, coming down in favour of a man seen in video footage screaming profanities at innocent by standers is positively shameful.

Yet, attempting to be debatably objective, it is almost impossible to disregard the talent that perches delicately behind such a foul-mouthed designer. No matter how subjective or objective one attempts to be. Looking back at previous menswear seasons, much like McQueen, shows were not moments to showcase just designs. They were glamorous theatrical events boasting the wealth and glamour of an industry that once seemed exclusive. Galliano’s previous menswear show, whilst still in control of his own named label, featured faux snow littering the runway, candlebras that depicted ceremonial qualities and grand pianos seemingly more suitable for grand old Doddington House in Cheshire. Yet it was an event from beginning to end. Even when the lights were on and the show was yet to begin atmosphere was created by surroundings, architectural aesthetics and sheer flamboyance.

S/S ’10 saw tribal references with mass draping in forms of silks and bohemian head dresses whilst a suit with herringbone trousers was not simply a suit unless it was veils in vast amounts of mesh and linen. Theatrical make up also added to the visual aesthetic of S/S ’10 with gold body paint and moody over glamorised mascara eyes in filthy amounts of dark black. It was, evidentially a theatre show. An active installation and an exhibition that proved to be breathing and living.

S/S ’11 saw the darkest menswear season to date for the House of Galliano with clear connotations of the late Charlie Chapman and puppetry, once again accompanied by sheer white faces and heavy black fabrics that hung loose on the hip whilst juxtaposed with overly tight fitted triple button down blazers and skimpy waist belts bringing an essence of femininity to the collection.

Yet Bill Gaytten moved drastically away from the theatrics of previous Galliano shows. Instead executing a far more modest approach to a fashion show proving positively conservative in relation to the flamboyance of John Galliano’s previous ‘events’. Dark rooted inspirations were replaced with the ideas of Pop Art in the 60s and colour ransacked the House. Puritan-esque high top hats crowned status looks of military inspired coats in blood red and large black cuffs whilst trousers came in the form of  prints in earth tones.

Signature round spectacles were continued this season yet accompanied a violently obvious preppy visual with knee-high socks coming in the forms of deep blues and sweet caramels, all showcasing heavy knits. Ivory round circular shorts were partnered with double buttoned jackets, again in ivory, with light violet pleated shirts popping from underneath. All tied delicately together with dickey bows in the forms of psychedelic polka dots of purple and reds.

Flamboyance was still apparent this season with the stability of the night wear as models were dressed in floor length evening gowns showcasing prints in sweet light caramel. Embroidery also proved that Gaytten, after 23 years working alongside Galliano, is a man worthwhile of the title of Creative Director as attention to detail came in the forms of medieval silvers and traditional golds.

The collection, although toned down, proved more wearable than previous Galliano menswear seasons, and although change is inevitable and vital to the growth of any fashion house there will be, without doubt, growing pains of a lost self assassinated legacy of a man who ended each show with a flamboyant and theatrical closing walk down the catwalk.

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