There's something of a May-December romance to the John Galliano collection at the moment. Where the Fall women's show seemed squarely aimed at established power women, the Spring menswear feels two full decades younger. Backstage after the show, Bill Gaytten used "boyish" to describe the untucked shirts and sweats under jackets. Enough with the tiny, narrow suits and skinny trousers, he added. So instead, he dressed his skinny boys in cool, looser street looks: rounded and cropped blousons over tunics, lean pants with dropped inseams, long coats with built-in layers and vents that unzipped, and roomy polos with extraneous zippered pockets (a few of these could have been zipped off entirely).
In fact, the collection was youthful from top (two-tone fedora baseball caps by Stephen Jones) to toe (heavy creepers varnished like blue-black nail polish and rimmed with chain link to emphasize the thick soles). Some of the shoes were topped with spring-loaded clip embellishments instead of, say, a humdrum tassel; they should be renamed and trademarked as clip-clops.
Galliano men's line, more often than not, has been defiantly ungentlemanly. But this collection, with its shattered geometric and arrow-print cabans, techno fabrics, and sportswear emphasis paved a new direction for the brand—and proves that Gaytten can compete with the youngbloods.
Crucially, he's not lost his grasp on tailoring; all those double layers were built-in to avoid bulk (because most wearers won't have the physique of a 16-year-old). Of all the special effects, the strongest consisted of a paper-thin leather grid of punched circles laid atop an electric-yellow backdrop that appeared on blazer and backpack alike. It pulsed like the music these boys would be listening to had Gaytten designed headphones. Perhaps next season.