Holmes is where the heart is for John Galliano
Probably in no small measure to the recent Robert Downey Jr.-Jude Law movie, John Galliano took his inspiration for his Fall/Winter 2010 collection from Sherlock Holmes, and the result was more like three mini collections (or acts might be more appropriate) mining what his show notes described as "the polarized extremes of his psyche," which turned out to be sleuthin', fightin' and smokin' opium.
The first act found the traditional Sherlock Holmes silhouette -- layered military- and hunting-inspired pieces in wools and tweeds (and, of course, the obligatory deerstalker cap) and a smoked PVC raincoat that captured the essence of the swirling fog of the London nighttime streetscape.
But the real standouts were Galliano's subversive, updated take on the perfect British gentleman in the light of day; trim, sharply tailored, double-breasted wide lapel, three-piece suits, shirts cuffed and starched. The buttoned up, tightly wrapped feeling of keeping other parts of one's psyche suppressed was telegraphed more overtly by the models who accessorized their dress shirt and tie ensembles with man corsets over top.
In his show notes, Galliano cited the bare-knuckle Muay Thai style of martial arts as inspiration, and it was pure fight club fashion that wouldn't look out of place in the modern-day world of mixed martial arts; some fleeced jersey pieces as short and skintight as traditional jockey shorts, others in nearly knee length billowy silk, many with corset-like lacing detail and all in pops of vibrant reds, yellows, purples and greens, as well as longer silk trousers and kimono-like robes abounding with dragons and other Oriental imagery.
In the third "act," east meets west and the influences of the first two combine in Galliano's opium den of cross-pollination. Traditional wool suit jackets were paired with floral-patterned silks and lapels embroidered with emerald, amethyst and jet.
Ever the showman, after the models' final spin down the runway, the designer appeared behind a giant magnifying glass at the top of the stage. On cue, red flames burst out of the runway and six feet into the air. As they subsided, he walked to the end of the runway and they blasted to life again.
Based on the evidence presented, is it safe to proclaim that John Galliano's Fall/Winter runway is indeed, literally as well as figuratively, "so hot right now"?
It's elementary, my dear Watson.
-- Adam Tschorn reporting from Paris
Photos: Credit: Jonas Gustavsson / For the Los Angeles Times.