NEW YORK -- “Schmuck.”
That was the headline the New York Post ran Wednesday with a cover photo of disgraced designer John Galliano wearing a black hat and curls that appeared to make fun of traditional Orthodox Jewish clothing.
It’s probably not what Oscar de la Renta had in mind when he invited Galliano to come work in his New York studio. Fired from the French fashion house Christian Dior for making anti-Semitic slurs caught on a camera phone in Paris, Galliano resurfaced in New York, the land of second chances, advising De la Renta on his fall 2013 collection. And although he didn’t take a bow after Tuesday night’s show, Galliano’s influence was evident on the runway.
The look: Uptown with an edge. Stretch flannel jackets with origami-like folds at the hem, worn over below-the-knee pencil skirts, a couture silhouette that was a Galliano signature at Dior. The hats, wide alligator belts and sheer evening gloves added an edge. There was a drama to other looks that suggested Galliano’s hand, too, namely hooded coats worn over stove pipe trousers, and a joyful red toile bubble dress. Painted and embroidered toile pleated skirts and fit ‘n’ flare dresses had an Old World loveliness. A mulberry silk peplum gown was stunningly simple, while a crystal embroidered sheer peach silk organza gown covered in swaying ostrich feathers was boudoir glam to the hilt.
The scene: The collection was presented in De la Renta’s showroom, to a supportive crowd that included fellow designers Valentino and Diane Von Furstenberg.
The verdict: An interesting experiment. De la Renta has said he would like to have Galliano stay on, and if he does, it will be something to watch this mind-meld. This first outing felt a bit schizophrenic at times -- in color palette, silhouette and approach. But it was good for both parties because it got us all talking. Now, if only it had put Galliano and De la Renta’s names in the headlines for the right reasons.