Bill Gaytten cut patterns for John Galliano for more years than he cares to remember. "I'm used to putting clothes together," he said after the show today. And that's how he managed to make his own subtle mark on a collection that otherwise honored the codes of the house: tailoring, transparency, bias cuts, frills, ruffles, nostalgia, romance. Gaytten cut a slip of a dress on the bias in pink georgette and beaded it delicately with roses. That was pure Galliano. But the new architectural quality—the fabric inserted into seams, the chiaroscuro black and white evening effects—was Gaytten's.
And the squashy boaters were Stephen Jones'. In other words, the world hadn't revolved so far from the team that spun never-ending fashion magic out of complex, celluloid-inspired scenarios. John may not be there, but his spirit definitely prevailed in a show that was built around two Marys: Pickford and Poppins. Gaytten claimed Pickford inspired the silhouette of rounded shoulders, rounded sleeves, and the general sweet spirit of things like the printed lace skirt or the organza dress with puff sleeves that could have stepped straight out of Laura Ingalls Wilder. White linen ankle socks compounded the effect.
But Gaytten ultimately fell into the camp of Poppins over Pickford. "There's that thing about nannies," he mused. Not to say that Poppins was a vamp and a tramp, but the show made a slow and steady move from prim and proper to seductive, with a procession of sheer, bias-cut evening gowns. Gaytten was on solid Galliano ground here, and even if the state of professional turmoil in which he has been suspended would be enough to unhinge the hardiest soul, this finale suggested his conviction—"What doesn't break you makes you"—will carry him through to the other side.