Oscar de La Renta’s show is always a highpoint of technical mastery and romantic fantasy. But while we were keen to see his gowns in action, today’s catwalk show was highly anticipated for quite another reason. John Galliano, the former Dior head designer has been shifting at ODLR for several weeks, working alongside the 80 year old New York legend as part of his fashion rehabilitation. The big questions were, would we catch a glimpse of the Gibraltan maestro at the end of the show and would we see a collection which reflected the signature Galliano aesthetic?
To the first query, the answer was a flat no, although after some pushy investigation we were informed that Galliano had indeed been in the office every day and was currently in the building. To the second question, the answer was more nuanced. Galliano is famed for his flamboyance and ODLR’s A/W 2013 showing was hardly sober. With silk gowns in rich jewel tones, pre-Revolutionary Russian embroidery and a theatrical play on ladylike with bright, sheer opera gloves teamed with New Look era tea dresses, De la Renta’s luxe madame definitely had an injection of off-kilter energy. The deep folds to the jackets cinched tightly at the waist, the wetlook hair worn with heavy eyeshadow and the full skirted exuberance of the closing gowns stepped to Galliano’s tune, but what this collection revealed more was the commonalities between both designers tastes.
The affection between the pair is made clear in a profile published today by New York Magazine. “I think John is one of the most talented men I’ve ever met,” ODLR reveals, “I like him very much. The years I was doing Balmain in Paris, I went many times with Anna [Wintour] to his shows.”
Galliano’s new mentor also weighed in on the perception of the US Vogue top dog. “It is so strange to me what people who don’t know Anna think of her. She is so wrongly guessed. She is the most wonderful person, so smart, and so funny, and an unbelievably loyal friend. So when Anna asked me if I would have John in my studio, I said yes. I also believe that everyone should have a second chance, especially someone as talented as John. And he has worked so hard on his recovery.”
As to the similarities between the two designers ODLR is coy, “I think the only similarities between me and John is that we both love what we do. I think we’re both learning from each other. I like hearing what he thinks should be changed and improved about each piece we are showing in the fall collection. I am not a loner. In fact, my Achilles’ heel is being alone. I’ve said that when I am designing a collection, I wish the Virgin Mary would sit next to me.”
So will Galliano become a permanent fixture at the uptown label? “I would love for him to stay. Will he? I cannot tell you that today. Because we haven’t gone that far in really discussing it. The fact is we work very differently in New York than in Paris. It’s night and day. We work at a much faster pace. So the answer is we don’t know. We’re still exploring,” explains ODLR. With Galliano going on record to say how much he loves being at the label, all we can say is the partnership is looking pretty rosy right now. Click through the gallery below and see if you can spot those classic Galliano tweaks.