'Please go to Gate 36!' was just one of the airport style announcements played over the speakers pre-show. Galliano has been playing around with the trench for a few seasons now. This time it was literally peeling off the body. From the waist, it ruffled and furled. Women looked like conch shells. With marabou feathers flying, gold cloqué – a material used in swimsuits - and bathing caps ahoy, the silver screen swimming goddess Esther Williams was called to mind. Incredibly feminine, this collection was girly, frothy and flirty. Transparencies, underwear detailing, and velvet bras worn over sheers were embellished with cabochon jewels. Gold leather bows wrapped around and sat atop upholstery floral fabrics.
The show notes talked about Galliano being inspired by 'the chaotic glamour of traveling' and 'in-transit dressing'. The airport announcements heard before the show paved the way for a runway of elevated takes on the humbling low-brow experience of often being at an airport. The glamour of travel is here playfully articulated alongside the underbelly of the actual – unglamorous – goings on. Talking of a collection that 'appropriates the inappropriate', the show notes listed materials such as crin – the 'honest' underpinning of couture – here used as outerwear – and metal underwiring that embellished bras. Rose jacquard towelling rifted off the hooded dressing gown and was also re-appropriated into bustiers. Baggage barcode stickers appeared on pleats and collars. The T-shirt was announced by the house as being decortiqué, stripped of its inner solidity and reduced to a cage of plumage.
A new duvet bag – called 'The Grand Slam' - resembled a white pillow and was this fashion house's best bag yet. DNA Margiela, girls held them close to their chests like comfort blankets or teddy bears. There was an aerodynamic quality to the collection, yet an awkwardness too. Some models lurched forward to engage with the push and pull silhouette of volume in the backs of jackets whilst skin tight swimming caps drove them forward. Marabou feathers in shades of toffee, nude and white created a surreal blurring effect of movement that heightened the sensation of speed, like handwritten go-faster stripes scribbled through the air. This boudoir flurry of girls could be dashing for a plane or a dance floor. Leather handbags jingle-jangled and rucksacks sat on the backs of models. Swinging ferociously with intent, this is one of the few shows where models engage with any kind of choreography or creative movement whilst on a runway. Galliano’s energy – and his love for what he is creating right now – could be felt at this show. Imaginative, cohesive and playful, it was one flight we didn’t want to miss.