PERPETUALLY WALKING ON THE WILD SIDE.
Byline: Maryellen Gordon, June 1994
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.
“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 backward.”
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. He explains that the collection 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 that tradition.”
While Galliano’s ready-to-wear line has caught the attention of the press, society ladies and fashion hounds alike, he is increasingly fascinated these days with the idea of cut-on-the-body couture. He believes there are women who crave that type of individual service, and it’s a business he is developing.
“I see a place for couture as much as I see a place for Gap clothing,” he says.
“At the moment I’m building up my couture clientele slowly,” Galliano continues. “I’m not rushing into it because the most important thing is to make sure the ladies are happy with it.” And he maintains that there is a demand for couture from younger women, rattling off an impressive list of young women for whom he’s made wedding dresses.
Upon returning to Paris, Galliano will continue to design his spring-summer collection. And will diamonds play a major role again in that collection? “Wait and see,” he says with a wink. “Who knows-they might be designed by John Galliano. That would be fab, wouldn’t?”