DESIGNER weddings are unusual in the fashion world. Designer brides - favoured models who appear in wedding finery at the finale of every catwalk show - are usually accompanied by the designers in their civvies. But last week Claude Montana put on his Sunday best and said 'I will' for real.

He married Wallis Franken, who was once his model and muse and who was last seen justifying Madonna's love on video in a cutaway leather Night Porter outfit. The photographers were out in force. After all, the last international designer to wed was Calvin Klein, who did so in secret, near Rome back in 1986, when he married his one-time design assistant, Kelly Rector, and launched Escape, a fragrance to celebrate their union.

Photographers clambered over one another for the first sight of Franken last week. And some were disappointed. For the designer famous for his asymmetrical intergalactic wedding dress, his Brunnhilde-on-acid wedding dress, his take-your-eye-out, razor-sharp wedding dress, and his ice-queen spangled wedding dress came up with a pant-suit for his real-life bride, teamed with snow-white cowboy boots. Montana himself chose cowboy stack-heels in snakeskin, a suede jeans jacket and matching jodhpurs.

As for there being any known impediment to these two being wed, China, Montana's devoted Shar-Pei hound, tried to bark the place down. But in any case, the designer became, at a stroke legally married, a step-father and a step-grandfather, which was judged curious by those who had doubted he would ever be the marrying kind.

Also in attendance was Loulou de la Falaise Klossowski, Yves Saint Laurent's long-term muse, who acted as a witness for Franken, while Beatrice Paul, Montana's long-term factotum, was the other. Paul wore the same heavy dark glasses that she always wears to terrify ticketless wannabees at Montana shows, while Jacqueline Montana, the designer's sister (whom you would equally not want to bump into while trying to climb through a skylight to get into one of her brother's shows), made a valiant effort to silence the dog.

It was a family affair, in the way of those curious fashion families you get only in Italy and France, with festivities continuing later with a strictly private dinner at the Arab Institute.

(Photographs omitted)