John Galliano

Aimee Scott

Designer Biography

DOI: 10.5040/9781474260428-FPA246

John Galliano was born in Gibraltar, Spain, in 1960. His family moved to Streatham, London, when he was six. He went on to study fashion at Central Saint Martins in London. While he was a student, he was employed part-time as a dresser at the National Theatre and also worked for Tommy Nutter, the Savile Row tailor. He graduated in 1984 with a first-class honors degree in fashion design. His graduation collection was inspired by the French Revolution and called “Les Incroyables.” This debut collection received highly positive reviews from the fashion world and critics, resulting in the entire collection being purchased by the London fashion store Browns. He launched his own business in the same year.

In 1991, Galliano released two diffusion lines: Galliano Girl and Galliano Genes. His experimentation with fabrics and dedication to breaking fashion norms created a huge amount of hype around all of his collections. The themes for his works were often historically centered, with collections such as “Afghanistan Repudiates Western Ideals” (1985). Nostalgia, romance, and sharp tailoring are a trademark Galliano aesthetic.

In 1995, Galliano was appointed as principal designer at Givenchy. Although the position was short-lived, the house received a huge amount of publicity. It bolstered Galliano’s reputation, resulting in him being assigned the role of chief designer at Christian Dior, a position he held until 2011. In 2014, Galliano was appointed creative director of Maison Margiela.

John Galliano has been a member of France’s Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture since 1993 and has won many prestigious fashion awards, including British Designer of the Year (1987, 1994, 1995, and 1997), International Designer of the Year in 1997, and Designer of the Year, Council of Fashion Designers of America in 1988. He was also awarded an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2001.

John Galliano, Fall/Winter 1997. Photograph by Niall McInerney, Fashion Photography Archive

References and Further Reading

Find in Library McDowell Colin. Galliano . London : Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1997.