By  on June 13, 1994

NEW YORK -- John Galliano looks a bit tired at Saturday morning breakfast in an East Village cafe, but there's a twinkle in his eye that matches the thoughts of diamonds that are floating around his head. Having just arrived in New York the day before, Galliano is excited by the results of a meeting he had with luxury jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels here on Friday.

Not wanting to give too much away, he only hints that it has him dreaming of what he could do with diamonds. His only disappointment about his visit to Van Cleef, he says, was not being able to see Empress Josephine's tiara, which is out on exhibit. Ordering an espresso, Galliano explains that he used diamonds to accessorize his fall collection because the gems reflect an important element in fashion's return to glamour.

"Diamonds are a great part of glamour," he says. "I also like working with diamonds irreverently -- wearing them in unexpected places. Or with necklaces, putting them on back to front. With the [fall] collection, part of the inspiration was the purity of the kimono. And with the back of the geisha girl's neck being the most erotic part of her body, we put the necklaces on the models backwards."

Prompted about whether he's discussed doing a jewelry line for Van Cleef, he demurs. "I'd love to get into the jewelry side," he says with a laugh. "It could happen."

Galliano's main reason for being in town, however, was not to meet with Van Cleef. It is for today's presentation of his fall ready-to-wear collection at Bergdorf Goodman. The event features a fashion show brunch and personal appearance by Galliano at 11 a.m., followed by a trunk show. He explains that the collection that will be shown today -- which will be delivered to the stores in August -- marks what he felt was an essential response to deconstruction.

"After deconstruction, what do you do?" he asks. "You construct. You build structure and technique. My generation, perhaps, hasn't had the chance to appreciate the fit of a wonderful jacket, like Dior, unless they've bought it at a flea market. Or to have the sense of a bias cut dress, again, unless they've bought it at a flea market. So it is important to work with old techniques and to use them as a springboard toward the future. I see that as a return to glamour and construction. Otherwise, we'll lose all of that tradition."

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