JOHN GALLIANO + SHERLOCK HOLMES

A few weeks ago, May 22nd, to be precise, we celebrated the birthday of renowned author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Many of us may have been caught unawares if not for the twitter trending topic, as for some reason, Google failed to publish a themed masthead to mark the occasion, (what up, Google? You did it in ‘06). You know, because we depend on Google for absolutely everything.

To mark the occasion, I got as far as drafting this post, before partaking in a marathon viewing party of the latest films inspired by Doyle’s most notable character— and one of pop culture’s most iconic— super sleuth Sherlock Holmes. I have a confession to make, I hadn’t actually seen the Robert Downey Jr. films until then! And as they were more or less the direct inspiration for John Galliano’s Fall/Winter ‘10 menswear show, I couldn’t very well publish this mini showcase without first understanding the reference myself.

The Galliano show was broken down into three stories, or what one LA Times reviewer more fittingly named, scenes. I give you examples of the first two (the last one’s kind of a hot mess) above. The first is representative of the iconic Sherlock Holmes look, pipe, deerstalker cap and all (a design choice made by the original illustrator, Sidney Paget). Then, from Baker Street to Savile Row, it segways into the modern, well-dressed English gent. For those opposed to deerstalkers, PVC, and exaggerated dropped crotches, the more sharply tailored pieces are more for you. Lapels, ties… you may even be tempted to rock the cape!

Speaking of not understanding the reference, sure, this last guy can pull off the man corset well enough, but what’s it doing here? According to Galliano it’s meant to evoke the idea of keeping the other parts of one’s psyche suppressed. I get it, I do. After a… err…healthy debate with a close non-fashion friend, however, it seems more like an excuse for the designer to throw in some, “signature Galliano,” and less an accurate representation of anything, as Mr. OCD, junkie, “high-functioning sociopath,” Holmes…. doesn’t really suppress anything.

And if you’re excited about this post, you shouldn’t either.

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