John Galliano’s Homme takes the gold in silver screen fashion

John Galliano Homme’s Spring/Summer 2011 menswear line was classic movie magic that manifested itself as a contemporary tribute line that entertained on the runway.
His vaudevill-esque concoctions were both unique and relevant dedications to the silent film legends, Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton.

In pure Galliano form, he presented a theatrical performance that was unmatched at this season’s Men’s Fashion Week in Paris.
Dramatically stomping through a giant clock backdrop, model Scott Barnhall was Chaplin reincarnated — complete with his famous mustache, thick, bushy eyebrows, and bowler hat. The hat was undiluted Modern Times, while the exaggeratingly shrunken jackets referenced another Chaplin classic, The Little Tramp.
Galliano’s rationale behind his designs this season was to manipulate proportions through oversized and undersized pieces, thereby creating an innovative approach to men’s fashion. Voluminous, loose circular-cut trousers, waistcoats, jackets worn tight and fitted, dropped-crotch pants provided modern interpretations of the 1920’s Hollywood studio wardrobe.
Wrinkled superfine cool wools, linen pinstripe and silk jaquards gave the line its summer freshness and an aloof Chaplin-esque feel, while technical viscose coasting, leather, guipure, and lurex military twills for Galliano’s trenches and peacoats revived the classic line and catapulted it into a modern context.
The color palette was true to the scratched and flickering movie reel: grays, blacks, and whites, with refreshing injections of olive and air force blue. The catwalk then appeared to change reels, as the model dressed as slapstick legend Buster Keaton strutted down the runway to showcase retro-tailored suits, worn oversized, to give a perfected, summer freshness to the formal wardrobe.
The Sherlock, Jr. star provided the ideal context for romanticized three-piece suits, complete with his signature porkpie hat and melancholic demeanor.

Double breasted, regatta and three-button tailoring, classic frock coats, waistcoats, and crisp English button-ups were manifested in light wools, soft cottons, and fluid silks in a melancholic palette of white, ecru, cream, gum and pale khaki.
Injected into the proceedings was a short segment featuring Galliano’s underwear & beachwear, no doubt set on the beaches of Lido.
His reference to Thomas Mann’s “Death in Venice,” as interpreted by Luchino Visconti, resulted refined and ultra-chic beachwear. Belted shorts, shorts worn above the waist, and three-quarter length pants — a reference to the boxing uniform of the 1920’s, in bonded felpa and light jersey were presented in a cool palette of ultra marine, black, optic white, and powder blue.
The last scenes of Galliano’s show featured formalwear evoking contemporary Hollywood though voluminous trousers and evening jackets worn edgy and loosely. Paper-thin leather and cotton sateen in midnight black showed a futuristic and ultra-modern interpretation of the classics.
Field and tuxedo jackets were boldly embellished with straps, zips, and a generally brazen attitude. Embroideries of fine onyx stones and ample military bullion gave it a masculine elegance that only Galliano can perfect.
The close of the show mimicked the flickering, vintage reels of paparazzi coverage of the 1920’s red carpet, with Chaplin, Keaton, and others half-dressed in smart, fringe black tuxedos.
During the show, I couldn’t help but feel the bold, androgynous attitude reminiscent of Marlene Dietrich, who was a major part of the era, both as an internationally successful actress and as an icon who revolutionized fashion for her gender with her asexual pantsuits. She touched both actors’ lives and was an integral part of the silent film era and the following years. Perhaps her influence of them was so aggressive, that decades later the residual effects can still be felt on catwalks paying homage to legends of the silver screen.
Galliano proved himself not only as a designer, but also as a director. Cecil B. DeMille and D.W. Griffith would be proud.

Here’s to hoping that his Donna line is another tribute to the classics because who doesn’t love the 1920’s ‘garconne’ masculine silhouette?

Article by Marriam M Mossalli – Arab News