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John Galliano, a Fashion Designer


Fashion design is the practical art concerned with clothing and daily life accessories created in the cultural and societal influences of a certain period. This art is presumed to have a built in likeliness of one or two seasons according to various cultures. Fashion designs are created by fashion designers who work as either in-house designers or freelance designers, setting their labels to distinguish their work from other designers. Thus, fashion design can be categorized as haute couture, ready-to-wear, and mass-market which are designed according to the customers’ requirements. In this light, this paper focuses on one of the most prominent fashion designers of the present time, John Galliano. Furthermore, the history of the fashion designer, current trends, and future trends in the design industry is analyzed.

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Early Life and Career

John Galliano was born on 28th November, 1960 with a British nationality. According to Design Museum Galliano is among the prominent and influential fashion designers of the 20th century. Being brought up in Gibraltar by a Briton father and a Spanish Father, John went to St. Anthony’s RC school and Wilson’s Grammar School located in southwest London. His exceptional skills in arts and design saw him graduate with a first class honors degree in St Martins College in the year 1984. Consequently after graduation, his professionalism in the field of design made him to scoop several sought out awards of the year. These included the British Designer of the Year, awarded in 1987, 1994, and 1997. As an inspiration to other fashion designers, most of them collaborated with him. For instance, Savannah Constantine, a media fashion icon has worked with him. Furthermore, Galliano has uplifted the achievements of other designers such as a famous shoe designer Cox Patrick (Design Museum).

Looking at his early life, Galliano was quite resolute, hard working, and determined. In some instances in those early days, he thought that people around south London were not conversant with his background and again, Galliano himself did not understand where those people came from. The cultural differences that emerged in the way people perceived others in life inspired him to study arts and people; this would eventually give rise to a prominent person. In a nutshell, every human being has an inspirational function or property that leads them to pursue their star. For the case of Galliano, Danton, a National Theatre production was the motivation for his first design collection. He was working there in the early 1980s, in which fashion had an inner romantic style that spanned through the way clothes were designed and worn. For instance, there were certain coats worn inside out and others upside down, romantic organdie shirts, supplied with romantic accessories, including jewelry and magnifying glasses. Even in the present, Galliano is still in love with those romantic styles that took the fashion wave in the early 1980s (Betts).

As an acknowledgement to the work of Galliano, fashion retailer Burstein offered him her London shop, the window of Browns. Thus, he developed his artistic styles and achieved a universal prominence through the design of clothes. Despite all these achievements in that decade, several promoters of his work pulled out; this saw Galliano miss several fashion shows. In early 1990s, discouraged by the way fashion business is conducted in Britain, he migrated to Paris where several fortunes be felled him. A renowned chief editor of American Vogue, Anna Wintour helped him to secure a sponsor (PaineWebber international) and a fashion store (Sao Schlumberger’s elegantly crumbling house). Despite the welcome in Paris, celebrity models like Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, and Turlington Christy performed their modeling routine with a friendship notion instead of paying the customs fees required in the fashion industry. In the invitation, there were only 17 designs combined at the last instances of show – all in black (this was all that Galliano could manage). All the same, the show was successful and thus his reputation as a prominent designer was acknowledged (McDowell 15). One person who ultimately understood the genius of this designer was Arnault Benard from luxury conglomerate LVMH. During the period of mid-1990s, Galliano had redesigned the 1930s – line bias – cut dress and generated a modern dress, together with generating narrow, very womanly tailoring which was the desire of most middle class people. In 1995, Arnault made John Galliano to become the chief designer for the Givenchy Company. This brought about several controversies on the way he was vied by French fashion organizations; a young upstart.

Therefore, Galliano was the first British designer to manage a French design house. In January 21, 1996, John presented his first dressmaking show at the controls of Givenchy at the Stade Francais. This venture made him receive much publicity and acknowledgement; he was later appointed to head Christian Dior, another branch of LVMH, replacing Gianfranco Ferre – an Italian designer. His first fashion show at Dior concurred with the label’s 50th anniversary, on January 20, 1997. In this light, due to his genius in fashion design, John Galliano designs many collections a year in the present time. He designs everything that customers need, including wedding dresses to shoes, and fragrances; all this can be found in his re-invented boutique in Paris.

Current Focus

Presently, John Galliano is seen as a fashion designer who has created and participated in famous fashion shows. Spanning from his 1984 degree collection, which transformed his London art school into a renowned scene in French, he has carried his precious audiences to many famous places that they could only imagine. Even if he decides to change the Opera Garnier in Paris into a celebration organized by Venetian socialite, Luisa Casati, or even non-descent stages of Gare into a Moroccan souk – all attended by guest who acknowledge the couture-clad Princess Pocohontas – the designer, Galliano always convinces his audience (McDowell 15). These vivid colors and rich design skills depict Galliano as rich, despite his early life which was filled with ups and downs.

From his exemplary clothes, to his colorful setting, Galliano’s accession to fame is quite impressive. His talent is seen in the way he communicates through his clothes and the overwhelming ambition. More so, Galliano’s ambition is to be one of the most acknowledged fashion designers of all the time. Even though his creative collaborator, Amanda Harlech at one time disagreed with him, Galliano’s efforts in creating fashion outfits made Harlech to acknowledge his work. His creativity has always stood even in the present time. Furthermore, looking at Galliano’s background, it is elaborated that he learned to dance flamenco from his sisters, and he also acquired a good sense of color from his mother. However, his romantic and extreme imaginations are all his own instincts. It is this sense of romantic feeling in his work that has made him to be regarded as the most influential fashion designer of his time. His exaggerated runaway shows are exemplary, transforming one fashion culture to another (Angel).

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Most importantly, his designs have changed the way people dress today, giving people a more proportional look on their dress; especially creating designs that make women look more beautiful and sexier. Currently, he produces six couture and ready-to-wear designs every year, with other collections having his own name as label “G Galliano” (Design Museum). Thus his collections include:

  • ‘Les Incroables’
  • ‘The Ludic Games’
  • ‘Olivia the Philibuste’
  • ‘Winter Wonderland’
  • Mr Galliano’s Circus’
  • ‘Suzy Sphinx’

Creative and skillful, John Galliano has been acknowledged internationally as the most famous fashion designer from Britain, renowned from the start for his knowledge in cut and brilliant ability to take skills and inspirations from various sources and create an extraordinary look. His clothes are always ahead of the current fashion, making his designs to have a significant implication in the future. It is deemed that most of high design work will inspire the next generation of designers in their aspiration towards attaining a respected position in the fashion industry. Galliano still holds the upper rank in his work, beginning from when his work was spotted while he was a student. Despite many problems with backers, Galliano is yet to reach greater heights in the fashion industry (McDowell 34).

His designs have greatly influenced most designers, with his main objective of adapting the traditional design styles into highly modern pieces throughout his work. Starting from the way he studied the historical garments which were in the museums and eventually learning new methods to cut and put together pieces during his early days in design, Galliano is seen as a focused designer who incorporates old designs to the contemporary fashion so as to cater for the needs of various individuals. This premise enlightens on the way the design industry shall be in the near future. In that, Galliano will be able to excel in his work through the integration of old and new designs, hence maintaining a reputable position in the fashion design industry.

Furthermore, Galliano’s design is not only constrained in making clothes for adults but also children. For instance the Galliano’s Girl and Galliano Genes are some of the work that demonstrates the designers ability to cut through the age and size boundary, thus maintaining a wider customer base not only at the presents but also in the near future. The noble vision in Galliano’s design, which normally reorganizes form and shape, and the beautiful innovation of his cut, has secured his fame in the British list of best designers (Angel). His hard work in performing research and eventually making collections that are fashionable, make him as a person who is willing to push fashion and dress in greater heights, yielding happiness and amazement in every collection. More so, with his unique style in making dress that is in line with the various seasons of his creations, Galliano is deemed to maintain his reputation in the next season as a renowned fashion designer. This is mainly because of his style of design and the integration of old ideas with new ones to create future designs.

Works Cited

Design Museum. John Galliano: Fashion Designer. 2003. Web.

McDowell, Collin. John Galliano. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1997. Print.

Betts, Kate. John Galliano: Fashion Forward. US Time. 2004. Web.

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Angel. John Galliano Fashion World. Story of a lucky boy. 2007. Web.

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