The style list: Galliano: Fashion’s Enfant Terrible by David Foy
The French expression “enfant terrible” is traditionally used to describe an unruly child who is embarrassingly blunt. In fashion, the term is more likely to refer to a nonconformist artist who is prone to being defiant, or even offensive. Most would agree that designer John Galliano falls very firmly into this category.
Though undoubtedly talented (words alone fail to describe the work that came out of his successful stints with iconic fashion houses Givenchy and Dior), there’s no ignoring the controversy that the name Galliano has carried in its wake since the designer’s racial outburst and arrest in 2011, and his subsequent suspension from the House of Dior.
London-based author David Foy, having previously written the Lady Gaga Style Bible and Cherish Madonna Like An Icon, tackles the flawed genius of this notorious fashion figure in his latest novel, Galliano: Fashion’s Enfant Terrible.
The narrative gives an in-depth account of the designer’s career highs and lows, from his early years studying at Central Saint Martins, to his climactic triumphs working with Givenchy and Dior, and the eventual launch of his own label. Many will be unaware of Galliano’s Gibraltar origins and of the hardships he faced while being raised in South London – but Foy sheds light on Galliano’s past, in the hope that readers will gain some understanding of his perseverance and drive to thrive.
Although authors haven’t intensively broached the loaded subject of Galliano in almost a decade, this year marks a potential turnaround for the designer – hence the renewed interest. In July he showed an haute couture comeback collection for Maison Martin Margiela, of which he was appointed creative director last year. His re-emergence on the runways has been backed by Vogue’s Anna Wintour, who even wore a Galliano for Margiela dress during December’s British Fashion Awards.
Foy’s latest novel is published at a time when the industry’s love-hate relationship with Galliano is starting a new chapter, and while the infamous designer may not be everyone’s cup of tea, this new release will be a colourful addition to any fashion connoisseur’s coffee table.
Updated: October 10, 2015 04:00 AM