John Galliano by Carolina Kohn

John Galliano – “Curiosity: it’s the most important thing”

One of the leading designers in today’s fashion world, John Galliano has gained numerous praises and honors. This unconventional Englishman has not only broken but also rewritten many rules in the industry while keeping his position at the top of the fashion food chain. Incredibly, after twenty years in the business, he still maintains the drive of the young fashion student he started out as. Superb tailoring and delicate detail are his trademarks, and he now designs six couture and ready-to-wear collections a year for his own label as well as for Dior.

Juan Carlos Antonio Galliano, known as John Galliano professionally, was born in Gibraltar on November 28, 1960. While his father is from Gibraltar, he is of Spanish descent on his mother’s side. When he young, his family moved to London where he attended Wilson’s School located in Wallington.

Galliano later attended the St Martin’s School of Arts where by 1984 earned his degree in fashion design and also an honors degree. “I worked very hard. I was always in the library, sketching endlessly” he said. Upon graduating he already caught the critics eye with his French Revolution inspired collection, Les Incroyables. It was an instant success with the fashion world putting his name on the map for fresh new designers. The high end London boutique Browns was the first to buy and sell the line in its entirety. Galliano passionately stated, “I was just so into that collection, it overtook me. I still love it. I love the romance, the charging through all those cobble streets in all that amazing organdie…There are a lot of things about that collection which still haunt me…”

Making the most of this first success, Galliano began his own self-titled label. By 1987, he already made such an impact on the fashion world that he was named British Designer of the Year. He would go on to claim this honor again in 1994 and 1995. In 1997, it was awarded jointly to Galliano and Alexander McQueen.

Galliano desired a change of scenery and pace and in 1990 he found what he was looking for when he moved to Paris. Very much influenced by his surroundings, his Spring/Summer 1992 collection was inspired by Napoleon and Josephine. Yet it was the Spring/Summer collection of 1994, Princess Lucretia, which not only caught America’s attention but also the interest of Anna Wintour, Editor in Chief of American Vogue.

Galliano made history in 1995 when he was named the head designer of Givenchy. Appointed by Bernard Arnault, owner of LVMH, he became the first British designer in control of an exclusively French haute couture house. By 1996, Galliano was given a major promotion when he was moved to the quintessentially French design house of Christian Dior.

John Galliano for Dior

Since then, Galliano has soared through his career receiving countless awards and distinctions. From being awarded “British Desgner of the Year” for the fourth time to “Best Womans Wear Designer” to America’s most prestigious fashion award the CFDA’s it seems like Galliano is on a role. Throughout the new millennium he never seems to show any signs of slowing his pace or running out of creativeness.

John Galliano will definitely be remembered as one of the most innovative, daring and unique designer of the twentieth century on the runway as well as on the red carpet. Favorite to some of Hollywood’s notoriously well-dressed actresses such as Drew Barrymore, Demi Moore and Sandra Bullock, Galliano is constantly visible on the red carpet, including major events such as the Oscars.


“John Galliano / – Design/Designer Information.” Design Museum London. Web. 4 May 2010. <;.

Paris. “John Galliano Spring 2010 Ready-to-Wear Collection on Runway Review.” The Online Home of Fashion: News, Runway Shows, Trends, Fashion Models, Designers, Shopping, Beauty & More. Web. 3 May 2010. <;.


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