Art and fashion fusions are nothing new, but rarely do the two worlds collide so forcefully as they do in Stephen Galloway. The American-born talent has performed with and created costumes for the world’s most elite dance and opera companies; provided art direction for the likes of Issey Miyake and Yves Saint Laurent; choreographed a Rolling Stones world tour; and consulted with photographers Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin on projects from Vogue editorials to Gucci ad campaigns. And, as if these highlights weren’t enough for one career, this one-man tour-de-force is set to unveil a new set of fashion and performance projects for 2009.
Galloway began adding slashes to his title shortly after joining the Frankfurt Ballet at age 17, when legendary choreographer William Forsythe suggested he create costumes for a performance. “My grandmother was a seamstress, so I grew up around dressmaking. I was the only sixth-grader in my class who read Vogue during lunch,” Galloway explains. “Plus, as a dancer, I know what will best complement certain movements, so I guess I had a lot of ideas from the beginning.” Galloway’s flamboyant and imaginative work caught the attention of Miyake, who frequented the ballet’s yearly residencies in Paris. He soon invited Galloway to act as art director for his ad campaigns and runway shows. Since then, Galloway’s intuitive opinions on everything from lighting to movement have been in high demand by members of the fashion, music, dance and art worlds.
“I’m involved with all of these projects because of my instincts and my eye,” he explains. “I’ve been able to maintain a good frame of reference for a lot of different things—contemporary art, dance, theater, fashion, all of these different things that are mixed up in me and which allow me to see each of my projects from so many different perspectives.”
Now, for the first time, these frames of reference will culminate in Galloway’s very own projects. First up is the spring launch of BRAVE!, a quarterly project that brings together the magazine and art worlds. “I’m still not sure what form it will take, whether as a printed magazine or an interactive installation,” says Galloway, citing sample projects like a piece of poster art that could double as a stage design or inspiration for an impromptu performance.
Perhaps even more anticipated, however, is the April 2009 debut of Galloway’s magnum opus, The Return of Lubrious, which is part rock opera, part performance art. “I’m so excited to get back on stage and performing again,” says Galloway, who, aside from prepping for his lead role, has conceived everything from the music to the costumes to the choreography for the spectacle.
With further plans to make his debut as an opera director in 2013, it’s clear Galloway feels that he still has more to achieve. “I’m given these opportunities for a reason, and I could never turn down any of them,” he says. “Each one is an incredible learning experience, and I would hate to look back on my life and think that I hadn’t totally fulfilled my potential.” We don’t think he should worry—he’s already fulfilled enough potential for five lifetimes.