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February 3, 2023
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DESIGNERS

John Galliano

John Galliano, who was born in 1960 and is still active in the fashion industry today, is generally regarded as one of the most forward-thinking and important fashion designers of the early twenty-first century. He was known for his never-ending stream of historical and ethnic appropriations, and he mixed his influences in frequently startling juxtapositions to produce lavish clothing that was also carefully constructed and expertly made. His ongoing commitment to staging fashion shows as highly theatricalized spectacles, complete with models acting out roles in a play and garments that sometimes bordered on the role of costumes, garnered him both praise and criticism throughout his career. With his respective appointments at Givenchy and Christian Dior, Galliano rose to the status of an international celebrity, becoming the first British designer since Charles Frederick Worth to front a French couture house. Galliano rose to the status of an international celebrity with his appointments at Givenchy and Christian Dior. Since 1993, he has been a member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in France. He is also the recipient of a number of prestigious awards, the most notable of which are the British Designer of the Year award in 1987, 1994, 1995, and 1997 as well as the International Designer of the Year award in 1997.
Education and the First Years of One’s Career
Juan Carlos Antonio Galliano was born in Gibraltar in 1960 and was given the name Galliano at birth. At the age of six, he went with his Gibraltan father and Spanish mother to live in Streatham, which is located in South London. During the time that Galliano was attending St. Martin’s School of Art in London (which has since been renamed Central St. Martin’s), he also worked as a dresser at the National Theatre on a part-time basis. In addition, he had a brief period of work experience with Tommy Nutter, the Savile Row tailor. In 1984, he received his bachelor of arts degree in fashion design with first-class honors from St. Martin’s. It was instantly purchased by the London shop Browns, where it was exhibited in the full window display, and it was based on fashion themes from the time of the French Revolution. His last collection, Les Incroyables, was a major success and was based on same patterns. In the same year, Galliano established his own label and has been doing business under his own name continuously since since.
Despite the fact that Galliano quickly gained a cult following and critical praise for his collections such as Afghanistan Repudiates Western Ideals, The Ludic Game, Fallen Angels, and Forgotten Innocents, the most difficult aspect of Galliano’s early design career was the financial aspect. Galliano was forced to make many collections on a restricted budget since his financial support was insufficient and unreliable. Danish businessman Johan Brun and Peder Bertelsen were among his earliest investors. The final impact in some of Galliano’s presentations from this time period was achieved by the use of improvised elements, such as the moment in his Fallen Angels show when he poured buckets of cold water over the models just before the event’s conclusion. Amanda Harlech, a fashion stylist, started collaborating with John Galliano in 1992 and remained an integral part of his team until 1997. Jeremy Healy, a DJ, Stephen Jones, a milliner, and Manolo Blahnik, a shoemaker, are some of his other long-term colleagues.
In 1990, Galliano was commissioned to create the costumes for the ballet Currulao, which was choreographed by Ashley Page and performed by the Rambert Dance Company. In 1991, he introduced Galliano’s Girl and Galliano Genes, two diffusion lines that catered to younger customers and were priced lower. By the beginning of the 1990s, Galliano had firmly established himself in the club scene in London. This, in conjunction with his first-hand understanding of the theater, helped to direct his inclinations toward experimentation and rarefied eccentricity, while simultaneously feeding the self-styled reinventions of his personal image. Both are still considered to be Galliano trademarks.
Moving from London to Paris Galliano made the move to Paris in 1990 in the hopes of improving his chances of finding employment there. His highly acclaimed spring–summer collection from 1994 began with models rushing down the catwalk while tripping over their enormous crinolines that were supported by collapsible telephone cables. This collection was inspired by his own personalized fairy-tale version of Princess Lucretia’s escape from Russia. Galliano’s groundbreaking autumn–winter collection for 1994–1995 was shown in a hôtel particulier, the eighteenth-century mansion of the Portuguese socialite So Schlumberger. This was made possible by the support of the creative director of (U.S.) Vogue, Anna Wintour, and the fashion editor, Andre Leon Talley. The atmosphere of an exclusive couture salon was faithfully replicated throughout the presentation by having the models go among the many rooms of the home, each of which hosted a select number of visitors. Beds were left unmade and rose petals were strewn around the room to give the impression that the home had been turned into a film set. This created an atmosphere of romantic indulgence. Despite just consisting of seventeen different costumes, the presentation marked a significant move toward fashion shows serving more as spectacles in the middle of the 1990s with the use of dance and an unusual venue. Both Martin Margiela and Alexander McQueen, at the same period, adopted an analogous manner of presenting for their respective collections.
In 1995, Bernard Arnault, the president of the French luxury company LVMH, recruited John Galliano to replace Hubert de Givenchy as the chief designer of Givenchy. Galliano succeeded de Givenchy in his role. This provided Galliano with a wonderful chance to do research into the archives of a prominent Parisian couture firm. He honed his ability to combine, either in the same collection or even in a single piece of clothing, the classic allure of a woman’s femininity with a clearly modern sense of humor. As one of the most stunning showmen in the fashion industry, he was also able to live up to the full potential of his expansive vision. During John Galliano’s short stay at Givenchy, the house gained an aura of “Cool Britannia,” and it earned unprecedented press. This continued after Galliano left the house. In 1996, Alexander McQueen was appointed creative director of Givenchy, and in the same year, John Galliano succeeded Gianfranco Ferré as the head designer of Christian Dior, another label owned by LVMH. After another four years, John Galliano was given complete creative freedom over not just the clothing line at Dior but also its accessories, retail design, and advertising.
In the meanwhile, Galliano has carried on designing clothes for himself under his own label. In 2003, he launched his first shop on the crossroads of rue Duphot and rue du Faubourg-Saint Honoré in Paris. This location is considered to be his flagship store. Jean-Michel Wilmotte, the architect, was responsible for designing the inside of the structure. For the fall–winter 2004 season, Galliano presented his first trademark men’s wear line since it debuted in 1986.
Galliano is known for his diverse clothing designs, which draw inspiration from a variety of fields, including the worlds of fashion, cinema, art, and popular culture. He then modernizes his appropriations to varied degrees. Not only does Galliano interpret exotic and historical looks, but he also reinterprets construction techniques, the most notable of which is the figure-flattering elastic bias cut that was popularized by Madeleine Vionnet in the 1920s. Galliano was inspired by extensive travel experiences as well as thorough research in libraries, museum exhibitions, and archives. His method has been variably referred to as magpie-like, history-book-plundering, romantic escapism, and postmodern pastiche. All of these descriptions are accurate. The debut of Galliano’s first haute couture collection for Dior, which took place during the spring and summer of 1997 and coincided with the maison’s fiftieth anniversary, featured hourglass silhouettes reminiscent of the Edwardian era as well as Dior’s own New Look. The collection also featured quasi-Masai jewelery and quasi-Dinka beaded corsets. Gowns and caps made of white leather that resembled doilies were presented in the same collection as dresses with a 1920s Chinese-inspired design that were given a sinister edge to their styling.
In contrast to the androgynous creatures that paraded avant-garde shapes in John Galliano’s London shows during the 1980s, the heroines of his 1990s Paris period were luxurious ice divas by day and exotic opium-fueled seductresses by night. This dichotomy was exemplified in the Haute Bohemia collection that he designed for spring and summer 1998. For the better part of the decade, he found inspiration in women who were mysterious and sexually ambiguous. These women ranged from real historical aristocrats, showgirls, and actresses to imagined characters and female stereotypes. Some examples include the Indian princess Pocahontas, Lolita (originating from Vladimir Nabokov’s fictional character), Edwardian demimondaines, the actress Theda Bara as Cleopatra, the artist and model Kiki de During this time period, some of Galliano’s most notable clientele were Madonna, Béatrice de Rothschild, Nicole Kidman, and Cate Blanchett.
Since about the year 2000, John Galliano has put a fresh focus on shaking up the high and low of fashion, in addition to making multicultural cross-references in his designs. The excesses of his previous work have made a comeback, as he has “dirtied up” conventional elegance with over-the-top chaotic mixtures of street culture and parodies of “rock n’ roll chic.” While the designer maximized the concepts of couture and ready-to-wear alike as a masquerade and “laboratory of ideas,” with clothes as “showpieces,” he has reinforced the identity of the House of Dior as a leading luxury brand with a tongue-in-cheek twist. While the designer maximized the concepts of couture and ready-to-wear alike as a masquerade and “laboratory of ideas,” with clothes as “showpieces;” while the designer maximized the concepts of couture His own label, which accounts for two of the six collections he creates each year, has had a strong creative identity that has been closely tied to that of Christian Dior.

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