Has Bill Gaytten found his groove at Galliano
? Fall’s rigid, severe collection for women put a complete full-stop on the gorgeous but exhausting—and exhausted—creative chaos that defined the tenure of the man whose name is still on the label. Then came a Spring collection for men that hurtled off in a new direction—techno, lurid, courage of its convictions and all that. That direction was compounded today with Gaytten’s womenswear for Spring 2014. It had a colorful, synthetic, almost cartoonish kick. Like Pop Rocks. Which was why Azealia Banks banging her way through “212” on the soundtrack sounded fizzy enough to dodge the not-her-again bullet.
That cartoonishness came through in a sci-fi Betty Boop (or maybe it was Minnie Mouse) quality. There were short, flaring dresses, belted tightly at the waist; zippered neoprenes, eye-popping or icy-cold; embellishments of laser-cut petals, or punched perforations that looked like the notorious hanging chads of U.S. electoral legend. They all contributed to an airy, go-fast urgency that put Gaytten fair and square in Spring’s athletic camp. And Stephen Jones outdid himself with hats that were either perforated visors or aerated racing bike helmets. In the light of which, a handful of gala gowns at the end of the show felt like an incongruous concession to alt
-Galliano, like Norma Shearer, all dressed up, gate-crashing sports night. Mind you, those gowns, made of sheets of organza, looked pretty damn glamorous.