John Galliano, the visionary British designer turns 56 today. As well as creating his own label, John Galliano, he has been head designer of French fashion houses Givenchy, Christian Dior, and is currently the creative director at Maison Margiela. He once stated “Dressing up: people just don’t do it anymore. We have to change that.” Well, his designs are all about dressing up. A bold and innovative designer, he creates clothes that are true works of art, opulent spectacles, dramatic and theatrical, and often pretty outrageous too. To celebrate his birthday, we’ve pulled together eight of his most out there moments in fashion.
Galliano sought inspiration from Paris’ homeless population for this ready-to-wear collection. Yes, really. Moving away from his usual excessive glamour, the designer captured ‘homeless chic,’ using newspaper, inside-out labels and torn linings to create the garments. Unsurprisingly, this was a controversial collection, and no doubt inspired the film ‘Zoolander,’ which features a similar runway show.
John Galliano Spring 2001
A fusion of reconfigured dresses, fishnets, neon colours, bathing suits, slogans and logos, and even newspaper made up the pieces in this collection. The purposefully trashy, tacky collection had a DIY feel to it. Galliano at his most playful, fun, and cheeky.
John Galliano Spring 2003
This must be one of the designer’s wackiest catwalk shows ever, with the faces of the models and other exposed skin painted blue, green, and yellow, and wearing tinsel, ruffles, Lurex and glitter platforms. Taking inspiration from early 80’s London club culture, the bizarre show was completely out of this world.
Christian Dior Spring 2004
Galliano’s Egyptian inspiration was not exactlysubtle here; instead he designed a full-on spectacle, with models wearing gilded garments, treasures and jewels, signature golden and blue colours, and elaborate headdresses. Their makeup was traditional ancient Egyptian style, and the collection referenced everything from hieroglyphics to King Tut.
Christian Dior Fall 2004
Galliano was clearly creatively on fire in 2004 at Dior. His fall collection for the fashion house was a royal affair of dramatic dresses, excessive jewels, fur trims, regal gloves, and was even complete with crowns. This was Galliano’s signature drama, glamour, and splendour amplified.
Christian Dior Spring 2007
This collection was inspired by “by Pinkerton’s affair with Cio-Cio San, Madame Butterfly” featuring kimonos, obis, and geisha makeup. Galliano certainly doesn’t only go halfway with a theme; origami was even incorporated into the looks. The designs were beautiful, ornate, and theatrical as always.
Christian Dior Fall 2010
Taking fashion’s love of florals even further, Galliano created dresses inspired by the form of flowers, with numerous outfits representing a different bloom, from bright yellow daffodils to purple and white pansies. Ruffling, feathering, ruching, and fronding mirrored the look of petals, and wonderful colours bring the pieces to life. The collection even uses florist’s plastic wrappers as headpieces.
Maison Margiela Fall 2015
Galliano’s first ready-to-wear show for Maison Margiela typically brought his wackiness to the brand, with wild hairstyles, clown-like makeup, and of course, some innovative designs. Wackiest of all, however, was the way some models stormed down the runway, hunched over or arms folded tightly across their chests. Why? Why not! Even by mixing up something simple like how his models walked the catwalk, Galliano refreshed the runway yet again.