Hit follow on @diorbyjohngalliano for the best archive images circa the British designer’s reign
Do you have to be an ‘expert’ to start a very specific Instagram archive? For Martin, who runs @diorbyjohngalliano, the question is no: it’s less about expertise and more about obsession. “I’ve been a hoarder of everything Galliano-related for almost a decade,” he explains. “When I moved into my first apartment I started framing ad campaigns, my most prized possession was a canvas picture of the 2007 one that featured Jessica Stam. Then I started subscribing to like eight or nine fashion magazines. Then came all the books, and, later on when I started to make a little bit more money, I started buying vintage pieces.”
As a sort of grass-roots expert, Martin studied the work of the master couturier in his spare time, losing himself in the fantasy of Dior before the fall. “When I was in school in my late teens I had it rough with bullies. And I remember escaping into my old room at my parents’ house, watching Galliano shows, and just dreaming myself away. Escaping to a different realm of fantasy and beauty got me to see the beauty in life. It helped me a great deal.”
So perhaps Martin is an expert, or if not, he’s at least dedicated to the world Galliano created at Dior. You can see it on his Instagram: there’s decades-old editorials, advertising campaigns, runway images and videos, backstage footage, close-ups of vintage pieces, and discussions about construction, all of which has gained him a dedicated community of followers, who correct or advise Martin when he’s misnamed, misspelled, or misdescribed something. @diorbyjohngalliano is home to a wide variety of people who all share a love of getting lost down a Galliano wormhole — to escape from a world where there’s no beauty like that.
But why Galliano? Surely there are other designers who don’t have a somewhat chequered past that would be better to follow? “I think he said it best himself,” Martin explains. “‘I’m here to make people dream, it’s part of my job.’ He creates a real fantasy and a narrative. Everything from the clothes to how the models walk and play characters, to the incredible sets by Michael Howells, to the music by Jeremy Heaky, the hats by Stephen Jones, and how it all comes together with the hair and make-up. He really makes your mind dream and pushes the boundaries of what fashion is and what fashion could be.”
“And the range!” Martin elates. “I mean if you line up all the collections that he did for Dior in a big timeline… Nothing is the same. It changes every season but still keeps his signature, and still stays true to the legacy of Mr Dior. It’s amazing how his mind works, how he can pull all these amazing references and then spin them through the Dior universe.” It is rather amazing, yes. Of course one can’t interview a Galliano fan without asking about the thing that once undid it all. And, like any fan Martin sees the issue, but talks about pressures that designers are under.
So instead we move back to Dior by Galliano, the fantasy part, because that’s where Martin is best.
Favourite time by Galliano? “Definitely the shows from 2007. The Madame Butterfly Couture show and also the 60th anniversary show at Versailles. Videos, backstage photos, and also editorials from those shows. I also feel like the models who walked those shows really love looking back on them, I’ve had great responses from them.”
Galliano is an example of both what happens when fashion goes wrong, but also how fashion can genuinely save. It definitely did for Martin and his razor sharp community. “He lets you escape to a different time, period, or other part of the world. For me there is just no one like him.”