Wet Wet Wet

John Galliano's Smoke Bubbles

The fates really conspired against John Galliano at the Paris prêt-a-porter season last night.

Firstly, he appeared to have been pushed into using the ghastly Halle Freyssinet as a location; no one in their right mind would willingly choose to show in this unlovely, dank, cold warehouse, near an underpass, in the 13th arrondissement, a good 30-40 minutes drive from the centre of town.

And, thirdly, perhaps most unfairly, the heavens opened in Paris at around 8pm. It was more a case of “après le deluge, moi!”

Torrential rain, thunder, lightning, this little meteorological event had it all. The streets were awash; “une piscine,” said our driver, negotiating a foot-deep lake that had suddenly appeared on the road along the Seine.

The rehearsal had barely started when crowds began arriving at the ‘loading bay’ of this ghastly venue. A lucky few got into the covered foyer; many stood standing in the rain. Among the slightly-drenched; a furious Carine Roitfeld, editor-in-chief of French Vogue. “I wait all this time in the rain and you can’t even give me a glass of water,” she stormed at a hapless PR, who would have been better off with a bucket than a clipboard – as the roof had started leaking.

How did Prince arrive for his front-row seat, in a bright red suit, looking as fresh as a daisy and as dry as a bone. And was the singer Katy Perry, who came on the arm of Russell Brand, parachuted in? How else to explain the fact the hem of her trailing, pink carpet gown, showed not a touch of damp?

With an increasingly angry crowd, many seated under the drips, the show eventually started nearly an hour late. Under such unfortunate circumstances, it is hardly surprising the show was not greeted with rapturous joy. Which is a shame, since the updated ‘Sunset Boulevard’ theme (snatches of the original dialogue from Billy Wilder’s 1950 movie, opened the show), and story of a silver screen heroine deciding what to wear for her comeback, was perfectly suited to Galliano’s signature, boho-glamour: 50s-look, tailored jackets, with lace and floral slip-dresses, and long, bias-cut gowns, accessorised with millinery confections by Stephen Jones.

Dear John, We love you. But please, next time, can you choose a venue closer to town? One even within shouting distance of a nice café or restaurant, would be thrilling – especially after a 12-hour day!


This is why designers are showing their collections online: to avoid the "used to being pampered" press and celebs who will judge the show solely on whether they wait in the rain or in a cafe. Put of the entire report by Hilary Alexander, the clothing only gets one paragraph.

Well, from someone who wasn't pissed off at being in the rain, the show was typical Galliano, dark, sinister and bohemian.

"John Galliano delivered a sartorial remake of "Sunset Boulevard," recasting its tragic heroine - the faded screen siren Norma Desmond - as a tough cookie whose iron will and magpie eye allow her to prevail in the end." (The Canadian Press)


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