Fashion: Twas the night of The Show: Nadja, Naomi, Kate, Carla and Kristen were psyching each other up backstage at John Galliano's Paris collection, but Lucy Ferry had already been armed for 24 hours with sticky tape and notebook to bring us this report.

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7pm, Tuesday, Studio Pin-Up, Paris. This would challenge Anneka; the brief is to transform a stark studio into sets from A Streetcar named Desire. The inspiration for John Galliano's show is an unlikely hybrid of Tennessee Williams's Blanche Du Bois, and Misia Sert, the Slavic beauty and alleged lover of Coco Chanel who brought Diaghilev to Paris.

8.15pm. Mobile phone chat reveals that Linda Evangelista has arrived for her fitting over at John's atelier. Over here, Blanche's rinky-dinky little dressing table is moved into place. A boy in frighteningly tight jodhpurs is balancing on a ladder and gluing up boxing posters - very Brando/Stanley Kowalski. A boy in leather jeans is sprinkling mud everywhere (later to have a disastrous effect on Carla Bruni's pink crepe slither of an evening gown).

8.30pm. My instructions are to glue porno pics over the wall of Stanley's boxing gym. This greatly slows down the French porters (carrying Misia's leopard skin-covered piano or steering an Oldsmobile car into place). They stop and ogle.

Midnight. John at last arrives and looks strung out. He tells us that the model Kristen McMenamy has just had her black sequin cocktail sheath 'sprayed on her back' and loves it.

8am. I've been given telephone duty. Everyone else here has been up all night stitching enormous moire bows on to mountains of sugar almond tulle, sewing ripples of ribbon on to bustiers. An exquisite white goatskin jacket, as detailed as an opera glove, is being hand embroidered by John.

10am. The key task is a highly political one; planning the seating to make sure the various international factions of buyers, fashion editors and stylists are not sitting on each others' laps. This is worked out to booming snatches of hard rap, classical music and movie dialogue; Jeremy Healy, a DJ, has arrived to check through the music.

10.25am. The phone is hot. People without tickets scream at me, sob at me, swear at me. I give them a stock answer, 'Je suis desole. I'm sorry, but we've reached our safety limit. Please come and see the video tomorrow.' An American screams hysterically, 'Listen. Just listen. We have got 15 million viewers. That is 15 million viewers. Got that?' Yes, but you haven't got tickets, I tell her, then in extremis I make her listen to a blast of the soundtrack down the line.

10.45am. Karen Mulder, siren model-of-the-moment, cancels. The search is on for a body double for her 34-23-34 curves. We say it's her loss, although Karen's financial recompense for modelling (three hours of fittings, six hours in hair and make-up, hanging around and the show itself) would have been nothing but the glory.

10.50am. Stephen Jones, the milliner, arrives to finish off Kate Moss's pork pie hat. He's a bit dishevelled. It turns out he's had a fight with a friend's cat and his new Thierry Mugler suit is lacerated. No time to change because Kate is due.

11am. She arrives looking exquisitely fragile and tanned, fresh from Arizona -her beau, Johnny Depp, has just started filming there. We drink her potent 'E-mergen-C Get Up and Go' vitamins. 'Extraordinary products for extraordinary people' says the label.

Stephen finishes painting the quills white for Kate's hat. John pins her into a pert daysuit.

11.30am. A bouquet arrives for John from Karl Lagerfeld with a note to say he won't be able to make the show. By tomorrow morning there will be flowers from Lacroix and Ferre and US Vogue. John says how thrilled he is, then announces he is going home for the quickest bath in history.

Noon. The collection is ready, bar Nadja Auermann's powder-grey bodice, which is still being folded and stitched.

The garment rails look delicious; sugar plum fairy pink, creamy tulle and sweetie wrapper silver. A black satin kimono (perfect for Misia's opium soirees at the Rue Cambon with Coco) hangs bagged and numbered. Suddenly someone is shrieking into a phone: 'Gail] I didn't know she was even in Paris] Fantastic]' Everyone is thrilled when Gail Elliott is booked in place of Karen Mulder. 'And she's got better legs,' someone says.

1pm. It is lunchtime, a fact forgotten as soon as all 40 layers of Linda E's canary and chartreuse tulle skirt swooshes by. A dozen red roses arrive; the petals will be put in Blanche Du Bois' bathtub.

1.30pm. The van arrives to take everything down to Pin-Up Studio. Thirty pairs of Manolo Blahnik shoes, tights, hats, gloves and hairpieces (swan feathers for Nadja), as well as a real diamond dragonfly worth dollars 250,000 from Fred Leighton in New York, are loaded.

The boy in the tight trousers sits up front holding a live goldfish called Bert. It turns out Tennessee Williams's troubled heroine had a goldfish called Bert. He will be part of the kitchenette scene, which is hung with Blanche's delicate lingerie.

3pm, Pin-Up Studio. Japanese make-up artists attempt to exude a Zen-like calm while waiting for their supremo, Stephane Marais, to arrive. When he does, John announces, 'I want it very fresh.' Julian D'Ys, Parisian hair wizard, arrives next. 'Fresh,' says John. 1950s make-up and pin-curled hair result.

4pm. Tall, sleek models start to arrive, but the 'Supers' won't be here for several hours, until after Vivienne Westwood's show. I begin to feel distinctly dusty.

As a delivery of Big Macs and fries arrives, I get a ride to my hotel with Madonna's (rather good-looking) bodyguard. She's a guest and he was checking out her entrances and exits. Her entrance will be via the fire exit, right opposite my porno collage, which I just know that she'll appreciate.

7pm. I've changed, hastily, into a Galliano black satin trouser suit. So, coincidently, has every other woman on the Galliano team. It looks like atelier uniform. This is confusing when clients turn up in the same outfit later.

An agent phones to say Karen Mulder can do the show after all. Too late.

7.30pm. The scene now is of the craziest, buzziest beauty parlour on earth; 23 of the world's most glorious girls are behaving as if they are very late for a party.

TV crews are everywhere. Men in jeans talk about 'blondes', meaning lights not girls, and crash over anyone or anything to film the supermodels. I count nine crews and 27 photographers.

8.15pm. I pop out front of house and spot my own seat label on the floor. I am amazed by Polly Mellon of US Allure barking, 'Are these good enough seats? I don't think these are good enough seats.'

Rows are breaking out. Some editors quietly, firmly refuse to move; elsewhere it's war as Americans and Australians get nasty over whose bottom should be where. A darling topless boy, lounging in the set's rumpled bed, watches all this, unperturbed.

8.30pm. The schedule says 8pm start, but everything is late in Paris this season. Backstage John's major-domo shouts 'OUT]' to all the camera crews.

Eventually, reluctantly, they leave.

Then I notice a boy hiding behind my chair and decide not to shop him. He is spotted. 'I'm with Lucy Ferry,' he cries. I giggle and I don't contradict him. 'Thanks,' he says when I bump into him later. 'I'm Gavin Bond.'

'Has anyone seen my bag]' shouts Helena Christensen. Gail Elliott, who is having a fitting behind a rail of clothes, spots it at her feet. 'Here]' she calls, half clad.

9pm. Out front, Madonna is fidgeting, next to the photographer Steven Meisel, on the best chaise longue in the house. 'Is it true I'm sitting on the summer collection?' asks Meisel. It is. The springs gave out two hours ago and the only emergency padding to hand was John's summer crinoline skirts.

9.27pm. Madonna flounces out with her hairdresser, Orlando, in tow. Steven Meisel stays put and the stylist Joe McKenna deftly vaults into Madonna's still-warm front-row seat.

9.28pm. My last chance to look backstage. There is at least a bottle of champagne per model to calm their nerves, but they support each other.' Go for it, girl,' they shout as one by one they head for the stairs and the lift that will take them out in front of the audience. Naomi is to be first.

'Do it, Omi,' shouts Kate Moss.

9.29pm. I dash for my seat just before Naomi, Kate, Nadja, Linda et al do it. The diamond dragonfly brooch falls off Gail's swagger jacket on to the floor just where the material girl would have been sitting, had she stayed.

The boy in the tight jodhpurs dives for it.

9.50pm. Applause. John appears, exhausted, triumphant.

Models pile into the lift to escape the crowds. I sit on the bed (the boy has disappeared) until the crush clears. 'Lucy, see you later,' shouts Naomi. 'See you later,' shouts Kristen.

Midnight. But I don't see them. The team stays to clear all the props. The team leader, Amanda Harlech, John's lieutenant, who has been up for 36 hours, is upset because Blanche's lingerie, which was in fact her lingerie, has been swiped.

The last crate of champagne is found. The first video of the show arrives.

We head back to the atelier to watch it. All that is left behind is Bert the goldfish, a gift to Pin-Up Studios.

(Photographs omitted)

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