Under the Shadow of Galliano, Paris Resumes


John Galliano had his day in court yesterday in Paris, and he admitted it was pressure that led him to hurl anti-Semitic remarks at people. Inexcusable, of course, but what else could he say? As a victim of Valium, insomnia and alcohol, Galliano is now, thanks to rehab, on the road to recovery. One awaits the next chapter.

Meanwhile, image and reality did battle at the new Mugler, which opened the Spring 2012 menswear shows in Paris on Wednesday. The influence of Olympian beach boys, Tom of Finland, and Jeff Striker all went into “Brothers of Arcadia,” the collection Creative Director Nicola Formichetti cooked up as an ode to “the everyday voyeurism of [amateur porn site] XTube.” There has always been a dilemma, particularly in menswear, between fashion as entertainment and wearability. This Mugler outing, filled with the trappings of beach blanket Babylon, looked a bit like the photographer ran off the shoot with the clothes. Stills from the collection film, directed by Branislav Janik, were teased before the show, and “an uncensored director’s cut” airs on XTube today. That’s showbiz! But then, you ask, what did go down that long, Flubber-green-lit runway at Paris’s Galerie de Mineralogie? Observed mutely by menwear fashion editors in sedate cardigans, Mugler men’s designer Romain Kremer sliced sleek suit jackets at the waist, revealing an inner layer; worked anatomical patching for muscle T’s; and turned out a slew of nothing-to-hide swimwear. There were some sizzling looks here, and one only hopes the new Mugler man can manage to tear himself away from XTube and head to the beach.

Olivier Borde makes clothes for wearing and is part of the lineup at The Hangar, Laurent Hollander’s brand new showroom across the street from Paris’s Centre Pompidou that includes Yasmine Eslami and a host of other up-and-coming French collections. Borde and his partner Heath Callender are masters of nonchalant summer clothes and their collection has become a kind of secret ingredient at hip Japanese stores (Beams, Tomorrowland, and Baycrews). For spring he reflected on Peter Doyle’s book City of Shadows: Sydney Police Photographs 1912–1948, which features well-dressed Australian gangsters, Hugh Holland’s Locals Only: California Skateboarding 1975–1978 and Dogtown and Z-Boys, a documentary about the early days of the Zephyr skateboard crew in Santa Monica in the 1970s.

“The Australian gangsters were very elegant, and they wore a lot of beige,” says Borde, who found a mini-Jackson Pollock splatter print at Liberty. He used it all over the collection, which includes board shorts (but in mixed cotton instead of nylon), parkas made from Swiss Army cotton tents bought in bulk at Isle-sur-la-Sorgue in the south of France, and ink pen drawings for T-shirts by his friend, the Chilean artist Simon Diago. One of the best pieces is a pair of peach-colored jeans dyed in the atelier (next to the pool in Monteux where they work) with a faded, sun-kissed look.

Alexandre Mattiussi capped day one with an alfresco cocktail show on a little square in the Marais for his collection, AMI—and the weather miraculously played along with him. His guys, looking like a contemporary Paris version of the Rat Pack, blended in with the crowd in plaid blazers, slim colored jeans rolled above the ankle, suede loafers, and skinny neck scarves.