PARIS, June 24, 2011
John Galliano went to trial this week; the same week his Spring 2012 collection was presented in Paris without him. You see France doesn’t have a First Amendment that protects free speech. In fact, America is the only country in the world that protects people from prosecution and threat of being arrested, for merely expressing one’s opinion.
This is a fundamental right that is the foundation of our Democracy. We don’t believe someone should be arrested for merely stating a belief that we may or may not agree with. In America, you are free to espouse nazi rhetoric, if you want. There are neo-nazi groups in America, that espouse much worse anti-Semitic rhetoric than those espoused by John Galliano; but they are free to do so, w/out the threat of prosecution! This is important to keep in mind, to realize how lucky you are, and privileged if you are an American.
Consequently the show was an afterthought; how can a label survive the arrest and trial of a truly innovative, creative designer, who is being persecuted for his reckless tirade that he made in a drunken stupor? We all make mistakes; we all say things sometimes, we regret or wish we hadn’t. He who hasn’t sinned; cast the first stone? The show was named in homage to the 1974 David Hockney A Bigger Splash. David Hockney is an English painter who was at the forefront of the 60s Pop Art scene.
In 1974, David Hockney was the subject of Jack Hazan’s film, A Bigger Splash (named after one of Hockney’s swimming pool paintings from 1967). In 1977 David Hockney authored a book of etchings called The Blue Guitar: Etchings By David Hockney Who Was Inspired By Wallace Stevens Who Was Inspired By Pablo Picasso. Artists are unconventional. It is the freedom of expression that allows artists to question given beliefs or opinions, in light of John Galliano’s recent arrest; this is relevant.
When I think of John Galliano I always think of his first frist fashion show, in 1984, Les Incroyables et Merveilleuses, in 1984, after graduating from Central Saint Martins. Central St. Martin’s School of Art B.A. Honours Degree Fashion Show, June 1984.
After the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror ended, there was a furor for entertainment and pleasure. Stylish women, the Merveilleuses, modeled their dress after that of ancient Greece and Rome, wearing semi-transparent tunics in gauze or linen and often displaying cleavage. They were also fond of wigs, often blonde, but also in such colors as black, blue, and green.
Their gentleman companions, the Incroyables, wore eccentric outfits: green jackets, wide trousers, huge neckties, thick glasses, and hats topped by “dog ears”, their hair falling on the ears. Their musk-based fragrances gave them the nickname Muscadin. They wore bicorne hats and carried bludgeons, which they referred to as their “executive power.”
Still the most innovative fashion collection of the past 30 years.