FRANCE: Paris Fashion Week - Fiery Show By John Galliano

British designer John Galliano, who has turned the French house into one of the most profitable in the business, presented a fiery show for Christian Dior. Fire alarms sounded just before the first model's strut down the mirrored catwalk at show perfect to start the fiery, flashy parade of outfits proposed recently for spring and summer.

The most noticeable characteristics of the gray satin suit that came out first -- setting the tone for the spectacle that is a Galliano-conceived Dior show -- are chiffon scarves binding a peplum jacket, the shine of the fabrics and a tight, mid-calf skirt with lace garter hem.

The Dior look also encompasses bustiers and a flesh-toned T-shirt worn under strapless dresses printed with a tattoo-style floral pattern.

Skirt lengths recall the classic silhouette of the 1950s, sexed up and provocative in Galliano's hands. The jackets, though also reminiscent of '50s, are overscaled, creating a new kind of power suit.

Amazingly impractical, yet intriguing, are translucent leather pieces, including a trench coat, a biker-style jacket and a pair of jeans. Floral-patterned hose, a dress or some other garment is worn underneath the see-through pieces.

And that is what is really new for Galliano. The clothes are sexy, clinging to and highlighting the body, but even when he puts a gold lame bikini under a satin and fox coat with a long train, the attitude is somewhat more chaste than in the past.

Galliano is at his best with a racing-striped track suit. The oversized silk jersey zippered jacket is worn with his luxuriously outrageous interpretation of sweat pants, featuring rosette-like inside-out pockets running down each leg. His take on sportswear as luxury wear is outlandish and yet entirely creative.

There also are some stunning bias-cut dresses in bright floral prints.

In fact, without the big furs, exotic-skin jackets, marabou chubbies, the glittering diamond jewelry , and the excessive, runway-only layering of elements, there are some classically feminine clothes here.

It's telling that the S&M-style chains attached to certain dresses and jackets are made of demure pearls, not heavy metal.


The current sweep of generally softer, more sensual approaches is reflected in designer Albert Kriemler's collection for the Swiss luxury-fashion house Akris.

His lean, yet not-too-clean, silhouette for the season features a little give here and there.

The volume, in terms of shape and hue, is turned up a bit in a tuttifrutti-striped peasant skirt or a multicolored woven skirt or coat. Solid-color, slightly slubby trousers flare wide around the calf.

Day and cocktail dresses, in pastel tones, white or black, and tailored jackets seem less rigidly conceived . This is especially notable in dresses and coats made using a fluidly cut silk with a pattern of white circles within circles created with dots on a black ground. The fabric is fluttery and the pieces slouchy, but never messy.

Fabrics are woven, pintucked and layered. Kriemler may be focused on the details and the properties of his fabrics , but the results are very handsome and a little playful in the end.

Vivienne Westwood

British designer Vivienne Westwood, the aging bad girl of fashion, called her collection Blue Sky, leading to the expectation that a cheery little mix of adorable prints might come out on her runway.

Instead, Westwood showed a number of maudlin-toned, rather shapeless garments. Legs and waists are wrapped with a number of belts. Robes and shrouds have tricky-to-figure-out twists and shards of fabric. Skirts and dresses have uneven hemlines that are low in front, high and bum-skimming behind.

It hard to imagine what Westwood's intentions are with this collection, in which the fabrics are draped over the body and allowed to lie as they will, unless they are bound with something or other.

It doesn't create anything except an eccentric appearance, and not necessarily a pretty one at that.


Girbaud, the French firm best-known for its jeanswear, offered primarily casual clothes.

The collection, designed by Marithe and Francois Girbaud and a team of collaborators, features several nice ideas that go beyond blue denim, offering a greenish-yellow washed finish, instead.

The silhouette is smallish and bound on top, with most of the volume occurring around the waist, thighs and calves. Pants are baggy and wide-legged. Dresses and skirts can be puffed up around the hips. Cropped pants with flared legs have a look best described as swashbuckling.

In the midst of all this, Girbaud integrates some sweet and wearable floral print, including wide cropped pants and a sleeveless scarf-hem dress.

One pair of gray worsted pants is especially attractive, with a wider-then-wide flared and ruffled hem. Also of note is a long straight skirt made of a shimmery metallic fabric.

Source: Agencies

October 10, 2003

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Added: October 10, 2003
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