The colorful tumult of characters that peopled John Galliano's finale looked like someone had tipped a box of candies on the catwalk. It was almost impossible to absorb the spectacle. But information overload is one of Galliano's most perceptive contributions to the modern fashion lexicon. If his usual polyglot cast of thousands included manga boys from Osaka, Pearly Kings from London's East End, and fearsome Gurkha warriors (plus Jack the Ripper and Quentin Crisp), the thread that held them all together was PUNK. Galliano remains fashion's standard-bearer for his original anarchic, anything-is-possible spirit, and he continues to unhinge the considered response to what he's doing by dumping so much on his audience that you can barely pause to wonder if you've been had (and that's a pretty punk reaction in itself).
It's become a somewhat formulaic response to play hunt-the-real-clothes in one of Galliano's fashion farragoes, but here goes: the brown leather jacket with the Nehru collar, the madras bits and pieces, a tailored navy jacket with white piping, a pinstriped duster, the croc-stamped biker jacket I could witter on. But that response can't do justice to the effort of the Galliano team. There was, for example, the segment where Galliano was promoting his underwear license, which was staged as a salute to Quentin Crisp, one of the last great English eccentrics. Milliner Stephen Jones rose to the occasion with a set of supernal hats, and hair and makeup gurus Julien d'Ys and Pat McGrath made a glam-rock moment live again. Anything to juice the jocks. Thus did a tip of the cap to a burgeoning corner of the Galliano empire become a splendid piece of entertainmentas well as a reminder that if the Galliano team were having a party while they were making this stuff, they were generous enough to let us in later.