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curated by Stephen Galloway

In the latest in our Curated By series, the creative movement director talks working with Kate Moss, his time at Ballet Frankfurt and showcases an exclusive edit of looks.

Words by Billie Brand. Photographs by Marcelo Krasilcic.

Stephen Galloway is talking about the art of dance. ‘When I go out with friends to clubs, they’re always trying to get me on the dancefloor because they think it’s going to be some sort of extended performance,’ he explains over the phone from Los Angeles. ‘As dancers – even when we’re at parties we’re still performing. But I have always enjoyed watching non-professionals more because you really get a sense of how they are physically enjoying themselves. I find people to be at their most honest when they’re physical.’

Galloway is a multidisciplinary movement expert with an incredible work ethic. He spent 25 years as principal dancer at the progressive Ballet Frankfurt, where he was mentored by one of the most important people in his life, the genre-defying choreographer and company director William Forsythe. Galloway is also the highly successful creative movement director who has worked with some of the world’s most prolific visionaries: he was art director at Issey Miyake in the 1990s, is a long-time collaborator with photography duo Inez and Vinoodh, and has spent two decades crafting Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones’ on-stage moves. And he’s behind some of fashion’s most recognisable and lively images, directing top models in campaigns for labels such as Saint Laurent and Gucci.

Galloway puts his extensive contribution to the fashion industry down to serendipity, but after conversing with him, it’s easy to understand how he forms such fruitful relationships. He’s charismatic. He talks with so much enthusiasm and personality and often bursts into infectious laughter. Raised in Erie, Pennsylvania, Galloway was classically trained as a ballet dancer. In his late teens, he left America for Europe in the hope of studying under one of the great choerographers of the time. His fluid dance moves subsequently landed him a role at Forsythe’s ‘laboratory’ – which is where his story starts.

When did you first fall in love with dance?
‘I was always dancing as a child – even before I started taking lessons. I come from a very musical family and we used to dance while watching American Bandstand and all those TV shows. When I had the opportunity to start taking dance classes it just felt like a really natural thing for me to do. It was the next step in being able to express myself. I’ve never pondered the thought that I fell in love with it – of course I fell in love with it – but it was also what I was born to do.’

You worked at the prestigious Ballet Frankfurt for such a significant amount of time. Can you recall your first impressions of William Forsythe?
‘The way William Forsythe is famous now is not the way he was in 1985. He was still considered to be the enfant terrible of the dance world – no one wanted to look at the work; no one wanted to hire him. We didn’t start out as the most popular dance company on the scene – there were other choreographers and directors who were a lot more desirable, but we didn’t care about that – what we really cared about was pushing the envelope of classic and contemporary dance forward.’

And it was Forsythe who gave you your first position as principal dancer. What do you think it was that he saw in you?
‘That I was non-resistant. I was 17 years old – there were no expectations from me about what success or failure was; I was completely fearless. I think that was something he found invigorating and quite challenging because I didn’t resist at all – there was no dance step too difficult, no move too weird – I was just there for the party. I only retired because the best company in the world ceased to exist [Ballet Frankfurt gave its last performance in 2004] – there were no reasons why I couldn’t continue but I didn’t want to do it with anyone else. I knew that it wouldn’t have been the same.’

During your tenure you started to collaborate with designers such as Issey Miyake. Did you always want to pursue fashion?
‘I never pursued it. I was just in the right place at the right time. I had an understanding of it and a curiosity for it – I always loved fashion, from the very beginning. I came from a family of seamstresses and my mum would read Vogue, Viva and Harpers Bazaar, and my aunt was also very much involved in fashion – as much we could be from our town in Pennsylvania. The opportunities just seem to present themselves and me being the curious Pisces guy that I am, I just said yes.’

What about your own taste in fashion – how do you describe your personal style?
‘I am equal parts Tom Ford and equal parts Loewe, which are total opposites. The men in my family were very, very stylish. Although there was not much money, it was used to make sure you had three good handmade suits. I guess that subconsciously informed my Tom Ford, extremely well-tailored, good-quality guy. Then there’s my life as an artist and a performer, which is where the Loewe, Marni-type guy comes into play. I’m bouncing in between the two and I reserve the right to be as schizophrenic with it as I like.’

You’re also known for your work as a creative movement director. Who do you have most fun with on set?
‘I have this incredible fondness for working with people who I’ve just met. I love all the girls that I’ve worked with – of course, I love working with Kate [Moss], Raquel [Zimmermann], Daria [Werbowy] but at the same time, when you’re able to work with someone new, I think, “Wow, this is going to be exciting – it’s going to be a challenge and it’s going to keep me on my toes.” I really like to approach every time I walk onto the set as a new day – there’s no routine.’

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Stylist John Pashalidis. FASHION ASSISTANT ELENA GABBRO.

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