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September 21 2019
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Shalom Harlow channels “Mata Hari in Bagatelle” for John Galliano’s Dior haute couture autumn/winter 1997–98 show, photographed by Robert Fairer.

It is important to establish the significance of John Galliano’s work in relation to this exceptional collection of photographs, taken from the thousands of images by Robert Fairer. His book is a perfect encapsulation of a giant of a genius in haute couture and ready-to-wear. There are no normal ways to talk about Galliano; his work provokes an emotional experience that exalts the senses. Yes, I can imagine you could imagine tasting the looks … Every sensory perception is built up to sustained moments of sheer wonder.

Galliano, with his St. Martin’s School of Art education, took fashion by storm when he presented his degree collection, “Les Incroyables,” in 1984. However, by the time I renewed our friendship in 1993, after a long hiatus (he lived in London; I lived in Paris and New York), he was literally homeless and desperate, sleeping on parquet floors in his best friend’s Paris apartment. After seasons of brilliance, his French business partners simply pulled the financial rug from under his feet. But, as they say, there is always light at the end of a dark tunnel.

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