With Penélope Cruz, Charlize Theron, and Dita Von Teese looking on, John Galliano sent out a resort collection that rivaled his latest couture and ready-to-wear extravaganzasif not in terms of their super-ambitious New Look-meets-the Orient references, then certainly in terms of sequins. In so doing, he once again raised the bar for a season that just a few years ago was strictly a showroom affair with B-list models and tossed-off clothesand for an industry compelled to reinvent itself in the face of globalism and global warming.
Working in an electric-bright palette not unlike the one he used in his recent 1940's romp, Galliano shifted forward a couple of decades and channeled Barbara Hutton's sixtiesa glittery, lamé, paisley, and leopard-print world of muumuus, bikinis, capri pants, trapeze dresses, cat-eye sunglasses, and scarf-wrapped hats. It bordered on camp, especially when one model, in sky-high heels with a cluster of logic-defying half spheres on the soles, had to be escorted down the runway. Kitschy or not, there was no denying the workmanship that went into crafting the large collection. And taken apart, there were some pieces that will mix convincingly into modern wardrobesa lime-green chiffon gown with cascades of fluttering ruffles twisting around the body was Galliano at his languid best. Overall, the designerdespite the recent loss of his right-hand man, Steven Robinsonis in exuberant mode, which is how many in the crowd at 7 World Trade Center love him. As one prominent retailer put it on his way out, "If it's shiny, we like it."