John Galliano Womenswear S/S11

A 1920s con artist was Galliano's muse du jour, making for a painterly show that delighted and relighted

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There are few that execute a vision with such theatricality and whimsicality as John Galliano, meaning you have to be awestruck by his vision everytime whether you dig the clothes or not. For S/S11, in the opulent Opéra Comique, Galliano affirmed his designer slash artist status by painting a picture so devastatingly beautiful that everyone was transfixed by his tale of an actress named Maria Lani who appeared on the Parisian art scene in the late 1920s, convincing the art greats (Matisse, Cocteau, Chagall etc) to paint her portrait with a pending motion film as the dangled bait. In turn, each ensemble painted by Master Galliano came out trying to one up on each other in their level of evocativeness.

Every outfit was a cacophony that could also be broken down into desirable pieces. Backstory and inspirational muses will only get you so far, but fortunately Galliano matched it all up with stellar pieces such as lace-edged trench coats, butterfly print loose trousers, a loose kimono covered in cranes or a sheer peasant dress bedazzled with sparkle. Actually, there may not be any use in picking out individual items when you wanted to be thrown into the overall vision of Galliano's tale, hence why props such as a roll of fabric, a trunk with an old petticoat hoop hanging off it, or a parasol as well as of course Stephen Jones' aptly judged hats were so essential. As Galliano came out sprinkled with gold confetti posing as a dastardly vagabond artist, we all knew it was no con we had just seen in that jewel box theatre.

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