McQueen creates a village for new show

ALEXANDER McQUEEN transported his audience to an imaginary turn- of-the-century French village at his haute couture collection for the Givenchy show in Paris yesterday.

There dwelt, among others, the banker, the vintner, the debutante, the nun and the maid - all dressed in their own, often highly idiosyncratic, way. It was a clever idea. While the ready-to-wear collections rely on a show forming a cohesive look and dictating forthcoming trends that will filter down to the high street, haute couture focuses only on the taste of the individual customer, catering to her every whim. She pays to be pampered, after all. And she won't be disappointed.

The finest lace and embroideries graced wasp-waisted jackets, beaded evening wear was the stuff that sartorially discerning dreams are made of.