This season John Galliano was influenced by the romantic, drawing on French painters and photographers, Spanish bullfighters and Dior's famous nip-waisted, full-skirted 1947 New Look. The first time around, the New Look spawned post-World War II street protests against the designer's conspicuous use of fabric. Now, 25 meters of silk is a God-given right.
The show began in black and white with a Jean Cocteau pen-and-ink portrait on the bodice of a ball gown, and a white bustier dress swirled into a hand-painted pink rose at the waist. What followed was a color explosion, each look more delightful than the last — a pink trompe l'oeil column dress outlined in brushstrokes, Picasso's harlequin suit done in soft pastels, a fiery crimson dress embroidered in gold like matador's costume.
It was over the top, certainly, but not too much so, a true marriage of Galliano's sense of theater and the house's ladylike elegance.