Young John Galliano

"I met John [fashion designer John Galliano] in 1984 at the show he put on to graduate from art school in London," the DJ Jeremy Healy once recalled. "My girlfriend was modelling, and when she walked down the runway she had a tree branch coming out of her head and she was waving a dead mackerel. An actual dead fish. The whole show was like that. It takes a lot to shock me. But I just thought, What the hell is this bloke up to?"

[The show was a success, and Galliano incorporated bizarre elements (including naughty schoolgirls, nuns in bondage and homeless tramps) into each of his subsequent shows. "Galliano has staged fashion shows at the Paris Opera and at the Gare d'Austerlitz," the New Yorker's Michael Specter reported, "where he hired an antique steam train to ferry the models about the platform, which he turned into a North African souk, with more than a score of half-naked men serving mint tea and a floor covered with imported rust-colored sand. Last fall, inspired by a trip to China, Galliano flew a dozen Shaolin monks to Paris, and sent them thundering down the catwalk twirling swords and swinging numchucks. He also imported a troupe of Chinese acrobats who, positioned at the stage entrance, spun plates on foot-long sticks. There was even a girl in a pink tutu riding a bicycle on top of a parasol carried by a Chinese elder. In the International Herald Tribune, Suzy Menkes called it 'the most staggering example of self-indulgent luxury since Louis XIV held court at Versailles' -- where, by the way, Galliano had presented Dior's previous winter collection."]

["I cut clothes that could be worn inside out, upside down, and by both boys and girls," Galliano recalled of his graduation presentation. "Very androgynous, but huge romantic blouses with tricolors and hems that rolled up and were split. You have to make three presentations. The first went really well. By the second, I was suddenly put on as the last act. I thought, Something has gone down here." By the third people were struggling to find seats. After attending one of the shows, the owners of Browns bought Galliano's entire collection for their South Moulton Street store. "I had to literally wheel my collection up the street to their shop," Galliano recalled. "I couldn't even afford to put the clothes in a cab. And they put one of the coats in the window and it was bought by Diana Ross."]

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