Galliano goes for bloke in Paris haute couture comeback
It felt like a positive move for the designer, as well as for fashion. After the four-year exile which followed his antisemitic outburst in 2011, Galliano has been at pains to show himself as reformed and newly humble. The man who once closed Dior shows with extended fancy-dress victory laps no longer even appears on the catwalk for a bow. The flamboyant, hedonistic persona has been replaced by a softly spoken man, in quietly expensive tailoring. This show, with its humour and verve, seemed to reclaim for Galliano the power to shock, which had been missing from the rather muted new version of the designer.
And it felt a refreshing move in the context of haute couture, a branch of fashion still lumbering under the weight of outmoded tropes of femininity. This was not, in fact, the first time a male model has worn haute couture womenswear on the catwalk. Jean Paul Gaultier cast the then male model Andrej Pejić, who has since become a woman, as a couture bride several years ago – but on that occasion, Pejić’s delicate physique and floor-length bridal train meant that few in the audience realised the model was male. This time, by contrast, Galliano seemed to delight in the unexpected masculinity. Most of the clothes in the collection were floor length, but the men were given shorter skirts, the better to showcase their hairy legs.
vintage style bridesmaid dresses
Gender fluidity is currently a key and vital theme in fashion, and one which is finding expression in catwalk casting as well as in a deep-rooted shift to androgynous fashion. When Alessandro Michele of Gucci included male models wearing silk, pussy-bow blouses, and women wearing mannish tailoring in his March debut, he described it as “a pure recording of something that is happening around us: a strong affirmation of freedom, beyond cataloguing and labelling”.
A few weeks earlier, when male model Jelle Haen walked the Proenza Schouler catwalk, in New York, in heels, designer Lazaro Hernandez said the decision reflected his sense that “the distinction between man and woman is disappearing, aesthetically at least … This is a big facet of our culture right now”.
Galliano’s show felt true to the spirit of Martin Margiela, the epochal, avant-garde designer, whose house Galliano now helms. Margiela used fashion as a means of questioning societal rules and boundaries. He took clothes apart and reconstituted them in ways that challenged preconceptions about how we should dress. Dresses were made out of paper, and labels left blank, querying the traditional ways in which the luxury industry commodifies clothing.
“Cross-pollination has occurred,” read the rather obtuse show notes for this collection. This cross-pollination presumably refers to Galliano’s own legacy and that of Margiela, and this was indeed manifest on the catwalk. There were many Margiela-esque gestures, such as pointed shirt cuffs fashioned from the hip pockets of jeans, a jacket strapped to the back as a rucksack, a skirt pegged to the front of the body like an apron so that the back of the legs were bare. But there were also moments of pure Galliano: the operatic drama of a voluminous glittered coat, swan-like as it sailed along the catwalk; shoes with circular blades for heels which gave the models the stilted gait of ice-skaters walking on to the rink. There was even the suggestion of a reference to Galliano’s repentance, in a model wearing a sackcloth coat.
There was further blurring of boundaries between fashion and beauty: the traditional demarcations between clothes and the body did not hold. The outsize spots that covered a coat were also stitched over the models’ hair; faces were brightly patchworked with stencils of Yves Klein blue. The drama of the collection was heightened by the setting. Two long front rows of delicate white chairs, with no second or third rows behind, lined an extended, wide, metallic catwalk. The Oscar-winning actor Lupita Nyong’o attended, accompanied by Galliano’s powerful ally Anna Wintour, editor of American Vogue.
A needlepoint jacket depicted a rural scene, which called to mind Van Gogh: the yellow and lilac tones, the simple representation of trees and flowers, the threads hanging loose giving a texture reminiscent of the Dutch painter’s lavish impasto use of paint (by coincidence the house of Christian Dior, now designed by Raf Simons, also used impasto as a reference for this season’s haute couture collection).
Textiles not conventionally used in clothing, let alone the silk-chiffon world of couture, collided in a myriad of combinations, including Chinese mud silk with English tweed. Flashes of colour came in painted neoprene as well as rich panne velvet. The intention, according to the show notes, was a study of “equilibrium and discord between old and new, night and day, seduction and subtlety”.
One tradition stayed fast: that an haute couture show finishes with a bride. The dress was extravagantly oversized, as is traditional. Less established though was the fabric, which was pristine white, and as shiny as a cornershop carrier bag.
More Info: http://www.queeniebridesmaid.co.uk/cheap-bridesmaid-dresses-uk