Gone are the theatrics of old. The waning daylight found John Galliano designer Bill Gaytten sitting on a low wall of a Marais park, sharing a laugh with Stephen Jones while guests to his summer presentation enjoyed a refreshing collection that spelled sunny times ahead. Eagle-eyed guests would have noticed that the gothic lettering that once spelled “John Galliano” is no longer. In its place is a cleaner, more legible typeface, inspired by 19th century wood engravings, developed by Atelier Franck Durand. With this new visual identity, it was time to unveil what the future holds for John Galliano. Given that its namesake is now firmly ensconced in a new role, the moment felt opportune.
Eleutheromaniac (a manic zealot for freedom). Dreaming. Direction. Authentic. Emblazoned on a shawl given to guests, these words form the four cornerstones of the refreshed brand. "We have the codes of Galliano, the sheerness, the handkerchief points," Gaytten listed quickly. "But they are cleaned up, less fussy." Reaching for a younger look, the contemporary line presented today for men and women will meld with the runway offerings. "I don't think people give a damn about 'age-appropriate' wear. Some people do. But a lot of people don't," he commented, when prompted about whether this new outlook was aimed at a juvenile clientele.
For men, Gaytten favored athletic pieces which he grounded into an urban wardrobe through lush materials. His personal favorite, an all-leather version of the raver's ideal kit made up of parka, hoodie, and wide shorts, looked as fresh as the elegant funnel neck sweaters and just as utility-minded as the technical scuba material of another piece. The color palette felt crisp, blues and lush greens, putty grey and metallics. On the other side of the room, women will find sherbet-hued mesh pullovers, a happy yellow handkerchief dress or the aforementioned wide shorts, albeit in softer shades. Sporty and fresh, the new John Galliano aesthetic will no doubt be a welcome rediscovery for those who wanted more of the same youthful vein that Gaytten last mined in his Spring 2014 menswear.
Like other houses in recent years, the brand seems to be escaping the gravitational pull of its founder. Let's hope today's dream turns into an authentic new direction. Meanwhile, many are waiting for September to cast a vote on what's been done with that freedom.