The story of how the Vogue editor met the fearless designer John Galliano
Jones recollects visiting Galliano and seeing their inventive process in full flow
Galliano's muse recalls how Galliano invented the drama in catwalk shows
Revered as the great fantasist of late twentieth century fashion, John Galliano’s romantic, escapist vision had a tremendous influence on fashion throughout the 1990s. Galliano’s vision combined technical excellence with historical, even theatrical touches, primarily focused on eveningwear and the handicraft of Haute Couture. Galliano’s clothing cannot be separated from the complex narrative from which it was born. Throughout the nineties, he presented his collections in theatrical scenery including enchanted forests, snow-dusted rooftops (accessed, Narnia-like, through a wardrobe) and the mocked-up set of a 1920s biblical epic. These complex vignettes, coupled with intricate invitations and even the personal appearance of Galliano himself, all reflected and amplified his inspirations for each season.
John Galliano began to show in Paris at the beginning of the 1990s in the hope of establishing a firmer footing for his still fledgling business. However, despite creative and critical success, financial security was still elusive, and in 1993 Galliano was forced to skip a season. Sleeping on friend’s floors, Galliano approached Anna Wintour and André Leon Talley of American Vogue for support. His subsequent Autumn/Winter 1994 collection is acknowledged by Galliano as “the turning point”. Put together mere weeks before the show, Galliano’s collection of 18 outfits, all in black silk, was a critical and commercial success. Shown at the borrowed mansion of socialite and Haute Couture client Sao Schlumberger and modelled by a bevy of supermodels working for love rather than money, it set the tone for the Galliano spectaculars that would mark the decade and propel him rapidly to Haute Couture, first at Givenchy and later Dior.
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