John Galliano uses the Little Tramp to make a big statement at Paris Fashion Week
John Galliano used silent film stars Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton as the jumping-off point for a Spring/Summer 2011 menswear collection that played with volume and silhouette; oversized/undersized pieces; generous drop-crotch shorts and baggy trousers paired with reworked versions of bomber jackets, trench coats and pea coats and under-sized tuxedo jackets and field coats.
Galliano took a side junket to the beaches of Lido, which gave us belted shorts; three-quarter-length pants; light, gauzy tank tops; and a bold graphic beachwear print on underwear and silk robes. (At least it looked
like a beachy aloha print at first glance. Closer examination revealed it to be an Orvis-worthy leaping trout.)
Although the collection hit several of the overarching trends of the season, blue hues and utilitarian, multi- pocketed jackets among them, it was the set piece at the top of the runway that made the biggest statement.
The models entered the catwalk through a large clock face -- a reference to the famous imagery of Chaplin's 1936 silent movie, "Modern Times" (the last movie to feature his Little Tramp character). That movie served as Chaplin's commentary on the dehumanizing effects of the Industrial Age and the unemployment and poverty created in the wake of the Great Depression. It was impossible not to see Galliano making a similar statement about our own modern times.
In fact, though the fashion shows in Paris routinely play out in varied venues, including old churches and racetracks, it's hard to remember a season that has included so many post-industrial graffiti-tagged backdrops (Dries van Noten at the docks of the Seine), empty industrial spaces (Comme des Garcons) and cavernous, vacant railway depots (Dior Homme). (Galliano's show was not one of them; it took place in the upscale Place Vendome space he used last season.)
Is the prevalence of these gritty, concrete spaces intended as commentary on the state of the industry or simply a matter of cheaper venues?
It's probably a little bit of both.
-- Adam Tschorn in Paris
Photos, from top: Looks from the John Galliano Spring/Summer 2011 Menswear runway show, which took place on June 25, 2010, during Paris Men's Fashion Week. The clock at the top of the runway, a nod to Charlie Chaplin's 1936 film, "Modern Times." Credit: Peter Stigter and Jonas Gustavsson / For The Times