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Galliano gives Dior a sporting chance

It took just one word - "sportswear" - for John Galliano to move Christian Dior ready-to-wear out of the realms of antique costumes and into modern day reality.

It is amazing what a drawstring and a few hoods can do: the Paul Poiret belle epoque silhouette that has transfixed the designer for so long was brought bang up to date in Paris yesterday when he re-cut it into a luxury parka or cropped it short into a mini Puffa jacket.

Instead of pillaging the Dior archives for the autumn/winter collection, Galliano seems to have ransacked his own and pulled out a few of his best loved ideas, including his Marcelle-waved hair, caught up in a series of shiny silver hair slides.

In place of an elaborate kimono such as those he showed at the haute couture show in January, here was a smart new idea in the form of a pink knitted wide-sleeve tunic worn over an orange skirt.

Long skirts of rust and pink tweed were given chunky army pockets, and brightly coloured tweed was quilted into a jacket with a fur lined hood.

It was by far the funkiest collection Galliano has designed for Dior: relaxed, sporty shapes made in luxurious fabrics with the best French workmanship. Bomber jackets were smocked around the middle and a silver dress was spun from an ornate filigree of ribbons.

All of this, of course, had everything to do with Galliano and very little with the signature of the House of Dior. Those who harp back to the "good old days" when Dior was for women who lunch instead of their daughters, should shop elsewhere. At last, Galliano has come up with a collection that a new generation of Dior customers will want to wear.

More fashion, page 15