Paris Fashion Week has been heavy on high concept design, and the Fall 2013 John Galliano show continued the serious mood. Designer Bill Gaytten described “a disciplined silhouette” with “geometric cut, drape, tough attitude and texture" in his show notes. Many can't help but feel saddened as the house takes steps further and further away from the artistic aesthetic of scandal-embroiled namesake John Galliano, despite ill regard for his personal conduct.
With a heavy sigh, we will take heart in the strong woman Gaytten designed for this season, despite a certain lack of inventiveness. (And a definite lack of joie de vivre.) Models sported severe, pulled back hair and minimalist makeup focused on a strong brow painted low over their eyes like the caps that accompanied much of the collection.
Clothes were expertly constructed, with precision tailoring in some of the season's most popular silhouettes. Despite coming at the end of fashion month, Gaytten may have hit on one of the most successful interpretations of the voluminous silhouette, particularly the wider than wide-leg pant. His came at a length that has been reserved mostly for skirts: mid-calf. Floods, indeed. In fact, so covered up were the models that an inch of ankle here or there was the only relief from heavy, layered fabrics. Strong lines and impeccable craftsmanship kept oversized pieces from looking clownish or unwearable, perhaps other designers could have benefited from the "disciplined silhouette" he described.
Strips of raw silk in regal purple gave the look of shirring on cowl neck tops. Asymmetry abounded in skirts with here and there pleats at the waist and volume at the hips which tightened at the knees, like long pencil skirts that had forgotten what they were about, hems often longer on one side than the other. Prints were allover Jackson Pollock affairs in white and gray, stormy colors for a moody woman. A dash of fuchsia in a digital print was one of the only colorful spots in the presentation.
Well built clothes will indeed be more commercially viable than John Galliano's theatrics. But what's life without a little color?