"Daughter, rouse yourself! Burst your bonds of mind and body!" read a '50s Wonder Woman cartoon strip by William Moulton Marston that was tacked onto John Galliano's inspiration board at Dior. "Marston laid out much of the groundwork for modern feminism," said Galliano, explaining his current obsession with the all-American superheroine.
That obsession led to a visual history of comic-book liberation. "The show opening is about repressed postwar women," he added of the bespectacled, Pleasantville-inspired bookworms who populate the show's first few exits. "But through the clothes you can see hints of the liberated women they will become." Next came Galliano's rendition of Eisenhower-era suburbia: martini-marinated ladies lost in giant Empire-waist tulle confections embroidered with Brillo pads, teacups and other household items. (Nutty, to be sure, but the frilly gowns, ordered sans decoration, will make lovely wedding gowns for a resourceful few.)
When dowdy Diana Prince finally becomes Wonder Woman, she does so, according to Galliano, with all the verve of a demented heavy-metal cheerleader, replete with slashed concert gear.
The story concludes with Wonder Woman retiring to her birthplace, Paradise Island, where only women are allowedand where one can enjoy the sun in ravaged Grecian dresses, ancient bits of fur and dusty Mad Max boots.
True, most socialites won’t want to attend a Metropolitan Opera gala wearing a golden corset and a Lasso of Truth. But couture is as much about creative flights of fancy as it is about the customerand thankfully, Galliano can always be counted on to deliver something a good deal more entertaining than perfectly cut chiffon.