Something unexpected happened in John Galliano's latest show.
It was the usual wall-to-wall spectacle, with the usual cast of thousands, painted and garbed to resemble anyone but themselves.
But, for once, it sort of made sense.
The theme was Napoleon's rise and rise, and—the Napster being a character whom Galliano effectively identifies with—the show's arc had a real cinematic drive.
An early highlight was the transformation of skinny white boy Cole Mohr into a flashing-eyed, olive-skinned corsair, but the real business was the outerwear that the corsairs got to wear.
A new chapter brought flower-wreathed Hellenes in an idiosyncratic mix of tailoring and…not-tailoring.
Impressive indeed was the way that a sarong was actually the new Galliano shirt (his signature newsprint over-printed with flowers) knotted around a model's waist.
Muslin-shrouded desert rats looked like wraiths in their sand-colored suits, but there were also denim jackets with cuffs crusted with embroidery.
Napoleon's Sicily sojourn featured one more opportunity for someone to display Simon Nessman in briefs, this time with a gilded torso (do designers make a bathing suit specially for him?) followed by a finale that impressively re-created the Napoleon of Abel Gance's 1927 movie, and gave him the outerwear of the season—a romantic, floating, multilayered frock coat—to wear.
Galliano's eye for detail is always admirably served by his team, but this particular outing managed to have its eye on the production and the product.