By  on May 12, 2008

PARIS — John Galliano is coming to America — and with eyes wide open.

"[The U.S.] is so full of ideas and inspiration that every time I come I discover something new or have some incredible adventure," said Galliano, who is slated to show his cruise collection for Christian Dior at Guastavino's in Manhattan tonight before heading to Georgia on Saturday to collect an award from the Savannah College of Art and Design. "The U.S. constantly inspires me with its attitude as much as all its artifacts and many states — you could spend a lifetime exploring it all!"

It will be the couturier's first visit to Savannah, where he will be presented with the André Leon Talley Lifetime Achievement Award during the college's annual fashion show.

"I am really looking forward to seeing the college, meeting the students as much as trying to get a glimpse of the town," Galliano told WWD. "I am very grateful to the college and to André Leon Talley for inviting me. It is a huge honor to be presented with this award."

Galliano, who marked a decade at Dior last year, mounted a photo exhibition at the college to show key moments in his career and "document the many changing faces, moods of not only myself but of fashion." Already on display are photos of the designer and his creations by Peter Lindbergh, Nick Knight, Steven Meisel, Ellen von Unwerth, Paolo Roversi, Julien d'Ys, Jean-Baptiste Mondino, Stephane Sednaoui and Zanna.

"I wanted to show the students how I had evolved as a man as much as a designer. This is a portrait of change," Galliano explained. "I decided to do an exhibition that would give a taste of my world, give them a taste of what they could be getting themselves into."

Galliano did not release any specifics about his cruise collection, but acknowledged America has recently been a wellspring of ideas, including for Dior's winter couture collection, the starting point for which was John Singer Sargent's portrait of Virginie Amélie Gautreau, or "Madame X," with The Guess Who's "American Woman" on the soundtrack.

"For the season that is in store now, it was initially inspired by the luxury, optimism and the American dream from 'Madame X' at couture and then the Sixties and that high-octane luxe for ready-to-wear," Galliano said. "America has been a very rich source of inspiration for me this season."

According to sources, Galliano and his design team recently travelled to Japan to do research for upcoming collections, including his signature men's wear and for the July couture.

Galliano's exhibition runs through June 8 at Red Gallery. Past recipients of Talley's lifetime achievement award include Karl Lagerfeld, Miuccia Prada, Marc Jacobs and Oscar de la Renta.

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