July 01, 2004
At the end of John Galliano's huge show, a clap of thunder announced the designer, posed in a blaze of fiery red light like Mephistopheles himself. Apt, given that he'd just treated his audience to a hellishly good time. His spectacle had a cinematic sweep and was cast with the bad boys who have become his fashion obsessions: buccaneers, gigolos, gypsies, toreadors, and boxers. It was easy to dissect their garb and extract the "sensible" core that will eventually stock store racks: the jersey hoodie, the maroon bomber with brown leather sleeves, the double-breasted gray pinstripe with the contrast lapels. (Even, at a pinch, the cropped, padded, ruched gridiron pants.) But that's missing the point. A Galliano presentation is about total surrender to his consummate showmanship, and this was no exception. From sooty-faced chimney sweeps through Civil War lover boys to scary dreadlocked voodoo priests, it was a Disney joyride turned dark and deliciously decadent.