Galliano's full name is Juan Carlos Antonio Galliano-Guillén. He was born in Gibraltar to a Spanish mother, Anita and has two sisters. Galliano's father was a plumber. His family moved to England in pursuit of work when Galliano was six and settled in Streatham, South London, before moving to Dulwich and later to Brockley. He was raised in a strict Roman Catholic family which made him shy and different from others making it a struggle to fit in. Recalling his early days, he once admitted: "I don’t think people here understood where I was coming from." His mother, a Flamenco teacher, would dress him in his "smartest" outfit even for a trip to the local shops.
Thirties-inflected chiffon cut on the bias are among Galliano's signatures, as have been imaginative hats made in collaboration with Stephen Jones. From Yemeni tribes to a camp California Valley of the Dolls, no reference was too far-flung for a Galliano interpretation. This cultural omnivorousness makes an ironic counterpoint to reports of his recent behavior.
John Galliano shows and John Galliano characters—including, might as well add, John Galliano himself—tend to be drawn a bit larger than life. Bill Gaytten, now stewarding the house, must be intimately familiar with this. And for his new thirties-inspired show, he looked to the work of J.C. Leyendecker and Norman Rockwell, illustrators for the famous Saturday Evening Post covers of the era. Their men were supermen, too. Call it a tip of the hat from one fabulist to his fellows.