THE MOMENT: John Galliano’s Madame Butterfly

For this weekly column, writer Mishal Cazmi highlights an iconic collection, person or collaboration, and explores its influence on style and pop culture. Above, John Galliano’s Spring 2007 couture show for Christian Dior.

Love, pain, desire, and despair. It’s the story of Giacomo Puccini’s 1904 opera, Madame Butterfly. The tale has been retold many times since its inception—Pierre Loti’s 1888 novel, Madame Chrysantheme—but remains most recognized in its operatic form.

Set in Nagasaki, Japan, it tells the story of an American sailor, B.F. Pinkerton, who marries and then abandons a young Japanese geisha named Cio-Cio-San, more famously known as Madame Butterfly.

It must have been the histrionics of classical opera that attracted John Galliano. He was most famously inspired by Madame Butterfly, or in his own words, “by Pinkerton’s affair with Cio-Cio San, Madame Butterfly.” And why not? The designer is no stranger to theatricality.

For his Spring 2007 couture collection for Christian Dior, Galliano’s presentation was all about sumptuous silk and couture kimonos.

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