John Galliano

ss 1988 ensemble

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This John Galliano runway ensemble from Spring-Summer 1988 ‘Blanche Dubois’ combines two main themes from the collection: the bow and polonaise skirt. 

The bodice is made of cotton with rigilene boning and features a large frontal bow, the hero style of the collection. The bow not only serves as a design element but also allows the wearer to rest their arms inside the bow loops, creating a distinctive silhouette. This was worn in the opening look of the show and was also depicted in the backdrop of the runway in an illustrated portrait of Marlene Dietrich.

The skirt is comprised of a high-waisted boned mid-section with a corresponding belt, and a draped navy gabardine skirt. Inspired by the robe à la polonaise of 18th century France, the skirt features a ‘Blown Away’ hem which is caught into a band with button holes. This allows for customisable polonaise folds and drapes by buttoning the hem to the underside of the garment at different heights. This unique and customisable element of the garment, along with the movement of the drapes when worn, showcases Galliano’s romantic design sensibility. 

The exceptional design and construction of this John Galliano ‘Blanche Dubois’ ensemble, combined with its rarity and historical significance, make it a museum-grade piece that belongs in any serious fashion collection. Its impeccable craftsmanship, attention to detail, and innovative use of materials and techniques are a testament to the creativity and vision of one of the most influential designers of our time.