This season, the collection stirs up an encounter that takes place in Midwest America where the Depression has left small towns facing a bleak future. The arrival of a traveling circus lifts the collective morale. Following her performance, one of the burlesque stars seizes on a seductive spark with a man who catches her eye. These traces of an intense, ephemeral connection—now faded in colour yet no less romantic—are what you see today.
As such, looks feature tweed jackets and denim workwear—then and still, a man’s every day essential—in the context of dresses that conjure up a woman who dazzles her audience. Tulle embroidered with silver leaves and fringes nods most directly to a vintage circus reference, while diamond bracelet detailing on delicate, body-skimming slip dresses captures the workmanship of the era. A dress paneled with devoré flowers is distinctive for its muddy brown hue, whilst sugared almond-coloured bias-cut styles and tiered organza frocks make a point to be pretty.
The styling is intentionally haphazard, so that sheer layers are introduced between sequined bras from boxy blazers; a delicate bolero over mohair pairs with cashmere leggings and gold metallic leather shoes over wool socks. If dungarees in dark denim are a fun foil for Victorian detailing, so too are the strands of pearls and mannish oxfords, or checked suiting constructed as a casual ladylike look.
Contemporary surface treatments include feather-esque paillettes and smoky grey plastic shown as a versatile Mackintosh. Hats by Stephen Jones boast tulle netting and ostrich feathers yet are intentionally un-fancy; they reinforce how the collection registers with polish in the face of a certain adversity.
The return of the Galliano Gazette is an exciting embrace of the original House logo : on silk as a spaghetti strap dress or skirt, as cheeky underpinnings, or on cotton canvas as a doctor’s bag.
“Looking back to the past with hindsight, we arrive at new ideas of beauty,” says creative director Bill Gaytten. “But the world would be boring if inspiration only came from classically beautiful things. The notion of romance in adversity captivated me.”