Wednesday 26 October 2016

What's in a Name: Bill Gaytten's Maison John Galliano

Diaphanous and romantic, Bill Gaytten's SS17 collection has his own imprimatur. Cover picture & photography by Elli Ioannou
Bill Gaytten's new collection for Maison John Galliano showed an engaging femininity and sense of romance. The designer has developed his own signature at the fashion house in the past five years, with a light and fluid aesthetic. Our Paris correspondent, Elli Ioannou, takes a look back at the highlights of the Spring/Summer 2017 ready-to-wear collection, shown earlier this month in the French capital

The show's runway at Lycee Carnot in Paris
WALKING into the rather dilapidated yet storybook Lyceé Carnot school in Paris’ 17th arrondissement, guests at the new John Galliano runway show were seated on high school wooden benches. The show's attendees were clearly still part of the original John Galliano club, wearing bold outfits captured by the photographers at the event along with the runway show. Bill Gaytten has emerged from the shadows of couturier John Galliano in the past five years and presented an appealing and low-key SS17 ready-to-wear range which should pique the interest of a new generation.

The collection's play on fluidity & transparency 
Originally trained as an architect, and working behind the scenes with Galliano for 23 years, Gaytten was pushed into the spotlight when he was made the creative director of the house after the designer's controversial dismissal in 2011. A rebranding of the label was officially launched with a change of logo and new campaign last year. The latest spring/summer 2017 collection reflects a classic design direction more in line with the brand's owner, the LMVH group, than the more over-the-top and avant-garde style of its former designer.

Pastel hues added to the sense of romance 
Young models, almost sprinted around the rectangular runway at the Lyceé Carnot wearing soft romantic hues, with looks inspired by the 1930s. The official theme of the collection was inspired by “dress-ups” viewed through a young girl’s naïve imagination when she discovers trunks of pre-loved clothes from another era. Dark, transparent dresses and boxy jackets were a counterpoint to the floaty, white long gowns. 

Milliner Stephen Jones' mask
Papier Mache animal masks were specially created by milliner Stephen Jones for the show. At first glance the looks offered an innocent-looking vision of youth with sheer silk chiffon, lace and tulle dresses. However on closer inspection, the details reveal the subtle but ingrained signature of John Galliano in their form: bias ruffled tiers and draped decolletes, black, open-waisted Thirties cut pants, with v-shaped cropped bolero jackets and signature blue and white sailor stripes in a bold vertical pattern.

Sheer and flowing dresses were mixed with mens’ jackets in upholstery stripes, further distressed and re-embroidered, while trousers were intentionally over sized and shaped by layers of vintage-look leather belts and Art Deco style costume jewellery.

Bold stripes added a strong contrast 
Transparent looks revealed undergarments that seemed more innocent than seductive. The romantic looks were juxtaposed with the post-punk Nineties soundtrack, including the finale echoing with Kurt Cobain's angst and sense of rebellious youth. The key accessory to be launched this collection was the Chain bag exclusive to Maison John Galliano SS17. Stiletto sandals with leaf detailing, completed the transformation from childlike daydream to a modern vision of femininity.

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Maison John Galliano's new accessory the Chain bag launched in Paris

Delicately gathered pink chiffon sleeves and fine darts on the bodice created a romantic summer dress
The white dresses had a sense of freedom and innocence contrasted by the transparency of the fabric
Leather belts added a note of robust detail to the flowing dresses 
One of the key trends in Paris for SS17 was underwear as outerwear and this was a strong theme in Bill Gaytten's collection
This diaphanous dress with its rows of undulating frills was a highlight of the collection
A Thirties style jacket in cream linen is tucked into broad, low-waisted trousers
Modern Grecian goddess in white chiffon
A glimmer of sparkle added a sense of evening drama to this sheer gown
Blue and black with unexpected contrasts of transparency and opaqueness made this a highlight of the show
The new Chain bag worn with pink and white underwear as outerwear
New Parisian warrior with feather and comfortable double-breasted jacket
Black lace transparency
 The new trouser designs added avant-garde element to the show
Stephen Jones' masks added a slightly surreal, story book quality to the collection
 Pattern and bold stripes made a jaunty counterpoint to the diaphanous white dresses
The models strode out in the finale in Paris 
One of the guests at the John Galliano show in Paris earlier this month 
An asymmetrical suit in blue and red check with a quirky hat made this guest part of the John Galliano ethos

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