Galvanizing Galliano—The Return of a Genius By Elisabeth Laurence

John Galliano

Twenty years ago John Galliano had a “fashion moment,” a breakthrough into haut monde and haute couture, facilitated by its über doyenne: Vogue’s Anna Wintour—and abetted then by Vanity Fair’s, now Vogue’s—Andre Leon Talley, prêtre de la mode.

Now that Galliano is back—even for three weeks, working at Oscar de la Renta’s atelier—rampant musings are rife about Galliano’s return to fashion—to the world he loves and has made his own for twenty-five years, since his first class honours degree in fashion design from Central Saint Martins in London.

It seems unfortunate to me, with all the web rantings about Galliano’s “banishment,” to note that a saga often outlives its reality. It’s akin to radioactivity—when the half-life is measured in millennia, yet the occurrence has long settled into the sea of time.

Galliano—one of the world’s great design geniuses—deserves to be seen again.

Repentant, he has made his amends—the world has offered many more second lives to those less worthy—and it is now time to shed the albatross that’s become a postscript to anything written or said about him—to allow the sheer brilliance and talent of this man to emerge–again.

Bravo to Oscar de la Renta—whose friends count him so dear that they rally round from coast to coast to support him—a true stanchion in the world of fashion, and in society. De la Renta’s courage and his largesse are matched only by his accomplishments and his loyalty. He has reached out to his friend Galliano—perhaps fostered by the godmother of great designers–Ms. Wintour. Nevertheless he’s taken the irrefutable, brave step to bring Galliano back into the fold—where he belongs.

Four years ago, Maria Manetti Shrem had a celebration for me at her Napa estate to which the iconic international style setter, society maven and philanthropist Dodie Rosekrans—who had purchased Galliano’s first couture collection—was a guest.

Dodie—then almost 90, was still blazing new fashion trails, sporting emeralds the size of moon rocks, when I asked her who in the fashion world she revered. She listed

—and then she leaned in closely and whispered, “But one, only one, is my dear FRIEND—John Galliano.”

Lives of Style broadcast television will celebrate the masterful mélange of creative talents of de la Renta and Galliano—and the Renaissance of new fashion ideas, in special broadcast TV shows this spring.

Elisabeth Laurence is Host and Co-Executive Producer of Lives of Style and a columnist at The Examiner.

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