The Incroyable Monsieur Galliano

Article first published as The Incroyable Monsieur Galliano on Blogcritics.

Four times British Designer of the Year, with a sell-out graduate collection, his own label, and the top spot at the helm of French couture flagship Dior: the “mad genius of fashion” has more than enough credentials to justify his position as one of the most influential and dynamic designers of the modern age.

Born in Gibraltar, raised in London, and educated at Central St. Martins, Galliano’s ascension to the upper echelons of the fashion elite has played out like a modern-day fairytale, with Fairy-Godmother-come-editorialista Anna Wintour helping to iron out those tricky financial creases and propel him from creative darling of the demi-monde to a critical and commercial design behemoth.

Galliano’s collections give us a vision of fantasy toying with reality, inspired by everything from Bollywood kitsch (s/s 2003) to the frontiers of American Gothic (a/w 2006) and on to the film noir glamour of his s/s 2010 collection for Dior. Harking back to the dawn of cinema, the era of the silent movie—powdered doll-like faces, vividly defined Clara Bow lips, and gossamer-fine dresses layered with a powerfully nostalgic laissez faire—Galliano’s signature line for spring 2010 conjures up a kind of art-house vintage beauty, an image of faded yet enduring bohemian allure played-off to perfection against the trappings of modern-age technical wizardry.

Given the often dizzying juxtapositions, left-field muses, and overarching theatricality, ‘fantasy’ in Galliano’s work is about as far removed from a namby-pamby Disneyfied fantasia in soft-focus as it is possible to get. Rather, we are presented with a visceral, vivid, brazen self-awareness which decimates conceptual barriers between often disparate themes and ideas and reconstructs them as a histrionic nonesuch of elaborate brilliance accented with a needle-sharp irony which is sheer magic and sheer Galliano.

Inspired by the “attitude and anarchy of the London rock scene” and promising to inject some quirky chic back into urban street style, his hotly anticipated (and utterly wearable) menswear diffusion line ‘Galliano’ is due to hit stores this Fall: head over to to view more of the collection. Here’s hoping that womenswear will be next on the agenda…keep those fingers crossed ladies!

All images courtesy of

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