Saturday, June 11, 2011

John Galliano - Riding The Fashion Roller Coaster

John Galliano's Graduation Collection (1984 photo Johnny Rozsa) and a clean cut Galliano (1986 photo Jill Furmanovsky).

John Galliano is now fashion's persona non grata. But it wasn't always this way. In 1984 the 23 year old wunderkind graduated from St Martin's School Of Art in London and his degree collection was promptly snapped up by Browns, probably London's most prestigious shop, who gave him the window of thier South Molton Street store. The collection entitled 'Les Incroyables' featured fabrics which had been tea stained and baked to give them an authentically 18th century feel.

Following that initial wild success Galliano's business tumbled and by 1986 he had been stripped of all but name and reputation. Help came from Danish impresario Peter Bertelsen and Gallaino was back in the game. Gallaino's financial ups and downs were to continue though and when this agreement ended in 1988 Galliano sought the backing of Faycal Amor (owner and designer of fashion label Plein Sud) who directed Galliano to set up his base in Paris. In 1993, Galliano's financial agreement with Amor ended and was he introduced to Portuguese socialite and fashion patron Sao Schlumberger and financial backers of venture firm Arbela Inc, John Bult and Mark Rice.

Through this partnership Galliano received the financial backing and high society stamp needed to give him credibility in Paris. The collection he produced that year was important in the development of John Galliano as a fashion house, and high-profile models including Kate Moss, Helena Christensen, Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista modeled in his show, all of whom were rumoured to have waived their usual appearance fees.

In 1995, Gallaino was appointed as the designer of Givenchy by Bernard Arnault, owner of luxury goods conglomerate LVMH. In January 1996, Galliano presented his first couture show at the helm of Givenchy at the Stade Francais. The collection received high praise within the fashion media. Less than two years later, on 14 October 1996, LVMH moved Galliano to Christian Dior, replacing Italian designer Gianfranco Ferré. His first couture show for Dior coincided with the label's 50th anniversary, on January 20, 1997.

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