New-look Dior fails to suit Nineties woman

CHRISTIAN DIOR showed its spring-summer 1995 collection yesterday, on the opening day of the Paris ready-to-wear shows.

Dior is one of the most famous names in French fashion and the first of the grand old houses to show.

Rumours that Gianfranco Ferre's days are numbered at the helm of this bastion of French fashion gathered momentum after the designer showed a collection that was out of tune with Nineties women.

This year Ferre introduced a new batch of models to the catwalk in an alliance with the Elite model agency.

But the new-girl gimmick did not divert attention away from the sickly girly polka-dots, the Eighties Lycra leggings in white and ra-ra skirts that would have looked silly on a 15-year-old girl in 1980, and had nothing to do with women today.

Heavy-jewelled and printed miniskirts with a fringed point at the front made even the models who wore them look ungainly.

The actresses Sophia Loren and Kristin Scott Thomas sat on the front row next to Natalia Semanova, a young Russian model who has only just turned 14. Natalia was among the new girls chosen by Ferre, but she was too young to model in the show.

The styles and shapes of the Forties and Fifties are emerging as the strongest influence for spring-summer 1995.

It is ironic then that Ferre chose to flirt only briefly with the New Look that Christian Dior introduced so controversially in 1947.

He has the reference and the archives other designers would kill for right now, but Ferre chose to ignore them.

(Photograph omitted)