... is by holding my tongue quite a bit. You see, this is something I have to do in order to avoid a complete meltdown consisting of blaming the various parties in the Galliano scandal (the link leads to an article I wrote in February), which invariably ends in sad, unanswered "Why?"-type questions.
There's no telling why. There's no understanding how more than a decade of exquisite art can be thrown down the toilet. There's only consequences, and one of those consequences is a rather cringe-inducing Fall 2011 Couture collection.
Bill Gaytten, I think, tried his best to help continue a legacy of a legendary brand by putting on a show as excentric as his predecessor. Unfortunately, while some looks channel former Dior-vibe, others are treading the sad ground between clown-like and grotesque. Exaggeration in fashion is tricky, and mumu-like garments from this undeservedly called couture collection are the perfect example. Shock value is still value, but not in couture.
Playfulness is one things, but that's a cupcake. At Christian Dior Haute Couture.
It wasn't all tragic. Looks like the one above reminded us, through cut and general line if nothing else, of the olden days.
Now Gaytten worked alongside Galliano for a long time. This is apparent in some elements of continuity between the last Couture collection, penned by John, and this current one. Things like different-level ruffles and supraposition of different colored fabrics for visual effect is common to the two collections, but the difference in quality is also clearly visible. I'm trying at all costs to steer clear of bias, but Gaytten's garments look unfinished and considerably, for lack of a better word, cheaper than Galliano's and that's just the sad truth.
And then, not 1, not 2, but 5 mumu-like garments glided down the runway, making beautiful young models look like 40-something, overly made-up, chain-smoking matrons. I'm trying, dude. That white one in the left lower corner on Yulia Kharlaponova makes for a nice visual effect. I bed it'd look good as a wall hanging? Bed spread? Table cloth???
The collections's saving grace (it did have one, thank god) was a section around the middle of the show, where peach-coloured outfits looked pretty and real, not something hastily put together. They're not perfect, they're not really couture, but they're nice looking at the least.
In conclusion, this was a decent try for someone filling such big shoes in so little time. Not everyone's going to be a Sarah Burton to Alexander McQueen. This is one of those situations where we can't do anything to change it, it's not going to magically get better, we just have to wait for time to make it blurry, because Galliano's not coming back, that night in February is not coming back, and all good things come to an end. Some designers move houses, some designers retire, some designers die, and some designers are John Galliano.