Jun 26, 2011
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Galliano mens' label, in new hands, veers to the accessible

Jun 26, 2011

PARIS, June 24, 2011 (AFP) - The John Galliano label, no longer helmed by the disgraced designer, sent out a far more accessible collection on Friday at the Paris spring-summer menswear shows, put together by a longtime associate.

John Galliano
John Galliano - SS 2012 / Photo: Pixel Formula

Bill Gaytten stepped out the shadows to take a bow at the finale of the first John Galliano Homme show since the celebrated British couturier's spectacular fall from grace in February.

"I've worked with John a long time," a bedenimed Gaytten, 51, who grew up in Oldham, near Manchester in the north of England, told reporters backstage.

"I first started (working with Galliano) when I was about 24, 25," he said. "We came to Paris together, we started at Galliano together, we started at Dior together."

Galliano stood trial on Wednesday on charges of spewing racist and anti-Semitic insults at patrons in a Paris cafe, including one video-recorded incident that led to his firing as creative director at Christian Dior.

He was subsequently dismissed from his own label, majority owned by Dior.

Dior chief executive Sidney Toledano -- who praised Gaytten backstage for "a great job" -- told AFP that no decision had yet been taken on who will succeed Galliano at the parent label, a powerhouse in the French luxury goods industry.

A number of options were being considered, he said without elaborating.

A Dior spokesman said Gaytten was fulfilling the functions of creative director at Galliano -- in the absence of a formal corporate announcement of his appointment -- amid speculation as to the house's long-term future.

John Galliano
John Galliano - SS 2012 / Photo: Pixel Formula

In contrast to the ever-flamboyant Galliano, Gaytten -- a specialist in cutting -- sent out a remarkably more wearable collection on Friday, albeit with nods to his predecessor's sensibilities.

Building on a 1960s Swinging London theme, the show opened with military jackets with pilgrim hats, then moved into colourful David Hockney-esque outfits and a parade of underwear including candy-striped hipsters.

Surprisingly, the suits were probably the most business-friendly of any others seen since the spring-summer shows began on Wednesday in the French capital.

Asked to set out his vision for the lable, Gaytten replied: "I think keeping the cult of Galliano. It's always romantic, there's always a narrative -- and cool cutting, which is what I do."

He replied "yes, well, yes I have," when asked if he had been in touch with Galliano recently, but then refrained from saying more.

John Galliano
Bill Gaytten stepped out the shadows to take a bow at the finale of the first John Galliano Homme show since the celebrated British couturier's spectacular fall from grace in February. / Photo: Pixel Formula

Other menswear shows on Friday pointed to a comeback for cargo pants -- and the man bra made its debut.

Stefano Pilato at Yves Saint Laurent featured the former in his crisp travel-friendly collection, notably in a sharp reworking of the safari suit and in a combo that married pleated khaki trousers with a reptilian blouson.

Tatsuro Horikawa at Julius sent out legside pockets as well, albeit on much looser trousers that kept true to the Japanese designer's neo-Goth sensibilities.

But he broke new ground by putting several male models -- plus a female counterpart -- in uncupped leather bras detailed with a handy zippered pocket that that stretched across their bare hairless chests.

Shorts appeared over jeggings, and iPhone-size black leather pounches adorned biceps.

American R&B star Usher was the front-row celebrity at Kris Van Aasche's own-label show, where the Belgian designer presented a fine collection of sharp, well-cut suits suitable for 21st century Mods.

Van Assche shows again on Saturday in his other role as menswear designer for Christian Dior Homme.

by Robert MacPherson

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