John Galliano certainly knows how to grab headlines. He’s been doing it since his graduation show in 1984. I was working at the (now-defunct) Fashion Weekly at the time and covering the graduate shows was my unwelcome task. But that collection certainly made the job a bit more interesting and propelled Galliano into the fashion limelight.
He stayed there through his own label, through a brief period at Givenchy, through his time at Dior and through his unforgettable meltdown in that Paris café five years ago.
And he grabbed the headlines yesterday too as he showed his latest collection for Maison Margiela. And what were those headlines? Well, a lot of people focused on what he called “raw core”, which was a madly mixed-up (or let’s call it eclectic) collection for AW16.
A mash-up is perhaps no surprise. So far at Margiela, Galliano hasn’t really given full rein to his personal style and he still isn’t doing so with a Margiela-Galliano hybrid that the New York Times yesterday dubbed ‘Margiano’.
But I’d say the collection was more Galliano than Margiela these days and you know what? The thing that really struck me was just how commercial it all was. OK, the styling was eccentric, the splicing and and layering would certainly raise eyebrows if you walked down the street looking like that.
But scratch away the surface styling and underneath it all there’s a lot you could simply wear and love.
Galliano gave us a trench coat, a military-look belted gilet, an ox-blood leather skirt with off-centre buttoned split, some platform shoes with on-trend chain or diamanté trims, a fabulous shearling ‘aviator’ cape, some slouchy knee-boots, a checked pencil skirt, a partially-deconstructed camel coat with wide almost-drop shoulders, some allover cartoon print sheer dresses, long belts, knitted collars on tailored pieces, some causal leather jackets, long metallic slip dresses, and… well, you get the picture.
It wasn’t all commerciality-made-real, of course. This is Margiano after all! But this collection was full of pieces you could buy and actually wear without sticking out like a sore thumb – unless you wanted to.
For me, that’s the biggest headline of the week so far.