In this year's international league of annoying show venues, John Galliano swept all the trophies. Who else could sit around in a planning meeting and think, Hmm, there's a major rugby match in Paris on Saturday night. The police will be blocking off streets. So let's send the editors into the stadium just as the fans are coming out! Whatever inspired himwhether malevolent mischief or pure ivory-tower obliviousnessthe man had a lot of hard tap dancing to do to charm his platform-shod audience once they'd abandoned cars and scrummed down against the contra-flow of rugger spectators to gain access to an annex of the Stade Français.
Let's just say, Galliano was smart to field a good team of models to make up for it. They laid on a gamely dizzy performance of typical Galliano-esque high jinks, animating a kind of storyline that was taken from the cult documentary Grey Gardens. This tale of faded flapperdom and eccentric cat-loving aristocratic decay is one of the most hackneyed fashion references of recent times, but OK. At this stage in his career, Galliano is motoring on reinterpretations of his classicsall the inimitably light-handed things he does with thirties bias cutting, frills, and printed chiffoneryand it happens that this is a season in which that looks right. First, there were twenties baby-star short tiered dresses, picture hats, and flounced jackets. Then a segue into demented Little Edie head-swathed cardigan looks, and a cat-fur-sprouting chubby to make the theme obvious. Otherwise, though, the narrative wasn't a groundbreaker, merely a device for trotting out Galliano¿s standard pretty, printed, flouncy dresses and some softened, sexy versions of the forties suits and day frocks he's been sending out recently at his Dior day job. All extramural irritation apart, it worked as proof that, trend-wise, Galliano is still in the game.