Galliano's navel-gazing brings twist of the tropics

Always spectacular, John Galliano yesterday imagined that Christian Dior had dropped "anchor at a South Pacific naval base" and opened his spring/ summer 2011 show at Paris Fashion Week with a quote from Bettie Page: "I was never the girl next door."

Watched by Kate Moss and Diane Keaton, models with short 1950s pin-up fringes, bright lipstick and waved hair wore sheer dresses in rich purples, pinks, orange and azure; which reflected the designer's reputation for combining bright colours.

The show also combined masculine and feminine influences, sailor uniforms and exotic themes to create a what Galliano described as "off-duty elegance with a tropical twist".

Peacoats and parkas in nubuck leathers were combined with prints featuring hibiscus, orchids and palms, and nautical knits appeared alongside sailor pants and dresses with twisted halternecks which evoked sarongs. Accessories came in the form of Polynesian-looking jewellery and flower garlands, and cocked sailor hats.

The archetypal Dior woman is wealthy and well-heeled, but this show evoked a more playful, flirtatious girl billed as "a new Siren". Paris Fashion Week continues until next Wednesday, with shows from Chloé, Céline, Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel and Louis Vuitton among the most prestigious events, and the ones that are most likely to create trends and be copied by the high street. British designers are well represented during the week.

Stella McCartney will be showing under her own name, while Hannah MacGibbon is at the helm at Chloé and Phoebe Philo has taken her magic touch to Céline and turned it into an influential label to watch.

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