PARIS, France — The metal catwalk, the lights on long stadium poles, the harshness that allowed nowhere to hide, presented John Galliano with a forum to mount the most extraordinary takedown of the fashion industry since Martin Margiela, the designer whose rubric he now operates under, was in his full glory. The atonal angularity of FKA Twigs — so wonderful to hear her so loud — laid down an aural tapestry on which Galliano twisted and turned convention. She done him wrong. And this collection showed that Galliano won’t forget any time soon.
From the first look, with its green beehive hairdo — Mars Attacks! — Galliano was on the offensive. A shattered mirror breastplate, a trad rose print blatted onto metallic silver, a floral skirt violently torn, a cricket vest ragged and (ultimate abuse) saran-wrapped… it was a veritable parade of soft-core society Walking Dead-ed. Pat McGrath contributed KISS makeup to ram home the point. The devil within is only a lick of eyeliner away.
Galliano spared nothing. A pantsuit in Kelly green? Is that not fashion’s most unfashionable colour? The savage deconstruction of jackets aside, he also besmirched everything with cavalier paint smears. Then he presented an extended passage of gowns with busts painfully bound in a fierce refutation of notions as fundamental as comfort. The fabulous defiance of such a gesture had revenge written all over it. Imagine the sumptuousness of classic eveningwear revisioned in the eyes of a civilisation collapsed to naught. Galliano can. Once, he was capable of bringing into being absolute beauty. Now, life has educated him in its exact opposite.