The Saturday night show was set against a backdrop that called to mind the confluence of a carnival sideshow and a burlesque theater. There was a Thumbelina-size woman in jeans and a nearly transparent blouse and a gentleman in yard-long, auburn dreadlocks who looked like a Rastafarian Rumpelstiltskin. Redheaded twin girls wore complementary gold party dresses. The models, as always, were chosen for their unusual physical attributes. But instead of selecting only aberrantly tall young women who weigh 110 pounds, there were beanpole men, tiny old folks, models with jet-black skin and others almost as pale as an albino. The extremes of humanity were drawn together in a celebration of diversity. It was fashion taking on some of its worse biases: fat, old and ugly.
And it was uncomfortable.
The audience laughed. One woman in the audience jerked fitfully back and forth, she was so overwhelmed with amusement. Some people pointed and howled in hysterics. Others applauded appreciatively, offering the models encouragement for stepping into the spotlight — a daunting task even for those who do it five or six times a day.
A single-page handout left on each seat underscored Galliano’s intention, printed with the lyrics to a song familiar to anyone who’d ever been to Sunday school: "Jesus loves the little children / All the children of the world. / Red and yellow, black and white, / They are precious in His sight. / Jesus loves the little children of the world."
Regardless, Galliano will never be accused of subtlety.