Detail: Vintage John Galliano edwardian inspired dress coat from his first ready to wear collection of 1984 - London label. Intricate and cleverly tailored, this early and very collectable piece illustrates perfectly the genius of Galliano's talents.
The classic raglan sleeves (1850s) have been adapted by using a seam that runs from the waistline, in a circular direction through the bustline, shoulder and finally twisting down the full length of the sleeve to create a unique silhouette. The main body of the dress coat is double-breasted, tailored to drape as a classic edwardian frock coat would. Single internal button and two external button fastening. Unlined. An additional large panel of fabric is attached which is folded back on itself and fastened with two buttons. The right side hemline is tucked to create irregular draping. The fabric is a heavy cotton with double pin and single ladder stripe. This piece was produced as a sample, and is labelled "Sample Not For Sale".
Once Galliano had graduated from City and East London College, he enrolled at Central Saint Martins, where he made a remarkable impact. His graduation collection, titled ‘Les Incroyables’, made brilliant by his romantic flair and diligence, received huge approval. Indeed, his whole line was hastily snapped up and put into the window of Browns boutique. Galliano left Central Saint Martins in 1983 with a first class degree and a healthy stockpile of critical acclaim. In 1984, Galliano unleashed his own label. More critical approval followed. His daring reinvention of romantic themes and delicate, superbly tailored garments were his trademarks.
In 1987 he received the ‘British Designer of the Year’ award. However, critical success was not matched by major financial success. He lost backers and did not have enough money to show for several seasons. In frustration, he quit London for Paris in the early 1990’s. This was not an immediate solution. Several times Galliano was almost forced to declare bankruptcy. This was made all the more bitter by the fact that, while he struggled for money, his critical praise continued unabated. Fortunately, the admiration of the fashion community allowed him to continue. Fashion editors and critics were always busy trying to get work for Galliano, and models, like Kate Moss, worked for him out of friendship rather than money.
In 1995 Galliano finally got the break he so richly deserved: he became the first English man to head a French couture house, when he was put in charge of Givenchy. His knack for taking themes and styles, often Latin or romantic, from the past, and somehow making them contemporary and edgy, is astonishing. Perhaps just as remarkable is the perseverance and conviction of the man. He has managed to keep his talent undiluted through difficult times and emerge with glory and success.
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