Galliano show strikes a pose – without disgraced designer

With no catwalk, models weaved among rooms of editors and buyers, with attendance higher than expected

There were notable absences from the John Galliano fashion show at Paris Fashion Week. Galliano himself for one, in disgrace and exiled to rehab after last week's video evidence of his antisemitic rants.

Another novel feature was the absence of a catwalk for the show, which, not surprisingly in the light of events, had been scaled back. Instead, models weaved among rooms of fashion editors and buyers, striking poses where they found a gap.

That the event went ahead at all is testament to the complexity of the fallout from the scandal. That the Dior show would take place, which it did on Friday, was never in doubt: the house has a long history before Galliano, and the event was a chance for LVMH to publicly wrench ownership back from its sacked British designer.

But many had assumed that LVMH, which underwrites the secondary John Galliano company, would simply pull the plug on this peripheral label.

However, many of the Galliano products (perfumes and sunglasses, as well as clothes) are made in partnership with other firms, licensees who in effect buy the rights to the brand name. An agreement with an Italian manufacturer to produce John Galliano scarves and hats was signed as recently as October.

Thus the future of the name rests in part in these hands, and LVMH is not in a position to simply bring down the shutters on the whole Galliano affair. Much more controversially, neither is the entirety of the fashion world.

The presentation demonstrated a surprising degree of sympathy for the designer, with attendance higher than most had predicted. There was an element of rubbernecking at the fashion world's great calamity, but there was also support at a senior level. Sidney Toledano, the chief executive of Dior, mingled with editors at the entrance, and stood with senior Galliano staff backstage during the show.

Friday's Dior show was precisely calibrated to divert attention away from the designer, with the end of show bow being taken by white-coated seamstresses, making a none too subtle point about Dior having a large and sympathetic workforce who should not all be punished for one bad apple. By contrast, at the Galliano show, a house spokesman was quick to state that the collection was "all John. This is John's work, A to Z".

The collection had been in the final stages of production when the crisis broke, he said.

Joan Burstein, the 84-year-old founder of Browns boutique in London, who played a major role in launching Galliano's career when she bought his graduate collection, was present. "Mrs B", as she is known to the fashion fraternity, believed "forgiveness will come. I hope so."

Selfridges last week released a statement confirming what many retailers have said privately, that they are "reconsidering" the place of the Galliano brand in their store in the light of the scandal. But a spokesman for the house said that appointments with buyers were going ahead, and the clothes on show – a distinctively Galliano cocktail of tailored jackets, dramatic fur collars and curve-hugging pencil skirts – would be put into production.

Pierre Denis, the managing director of John Galliano, said afterwards that its future "is not certain now, because it depends on John, and whether he comes back. But for now, it's business as usual."

The proof of the pudding will be in the order books. Whether customers retain a taste for the Galliano name is yet to be seen.


Jess Cartner-Morley in Paris

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Dior's first show without John Galliano ends on a bum note
All mention of John Galliano hurriedly scrubbed from Dior's Paris show – but designer's shadow looms large over collection

Imogen Fox

04, Mar, 2011 @7:29 PM

Article image
Paris fashion week: Return to normality after John Galliano storm
Stella McCartney's latest collection light on theatrics as fashion slams door on diva designers

Jess Cartner-Morley in Paris

07, Mar, 2011 @7:06 PM

Article image
John Galliano takes Maison Margiela non-traditional
Layered ponytailed hair extensions under bobbed wigs, two-dimensional dresses draped like a bib: you get the picture

Jess Cartner-Morley Fashion editor

02, Mar, 2016 @6:49 PM

Article image
Dior has to find its wild side in a post-Galliano world

Prissy collection shows fashion house needs a designer it believes in after recent controversies

Imogen Fox in Paris

30, Sep, 2011 @6:02 PM

Article image
Paris fashion week turns to Lady Gaga – and a quiet Belgian
Lady Gaga steals fashion spotlight as Dries van Noten aims to refocus attention from Galliano scandal to clothes

Imogen Fox

03, Mar, 2011 @12:27 AM

John Galliano: Fashion industry shocked at allegations of racism

Two catwalk shows John Galliano preparing in Paris in doubt after arrest and suspension by fashion house Dior

Jess Cartner-Morley

25, Feb, 2011 @6:32 PM

Article image
'Dressing in haste': Galliano delivers his first menswear collection for Margiela
Designer’s bright and optimistic vision dominates the Paris show

Hannah Marriott in Paris

19, Jan, 2018 @3:58 PM

Article image
Disgraced fashion designer John Galliano makes a comeback
British designer given Oscar de la Renta residency two years after drunken outburst cost him his job at Christian Dior

Esther Addley

18, Jan, 2013 @6:35 PM

Article image
John Galliano scandal puts spark back into Paris fashion week

Dior designer's indiscretion may have hit the big names, but the minnows see a silver lining

Kim Willsher in Paris

13, Mar, 2011 @12:05 AM

Article image
Maison Margiela leaves out the Galliano
There were sharp suits and a familiar mix of minimalism and deconstruction at the brand’s Paris menswear show, but also one significant missing ingredient

Lauren Cochrane in Paris

26, Jun, 2015 @4:15 PM