Paris show rocks to Galliano's frocks

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The Independent Online

John Galliano is famed for travelling to far-flung cultures in search of inspiration. In Paris last night at his spring/summer 2005 show, a thundering Nirvana soundtrack, crystal-encrusted psychedelic prints and army boots suggested destinations familiar to British music fans: Glastonbury, or any one of the other rock festivals where a sense of the absurd is always in fashion. For accessories, Galliano plundered the cheerfully weird wardrobe of acid-trippers for inflatable hats, deely boppers and helium balloons that bobbed behind the models.

John Galliano is famed for travelling to far-flung cultures in search of inspiration. In Paris last night at his spring/summer 2005 show, a thundering Nirvana soundtrack, crystal-encrusted psychedelic prints and army boots suggested destinations familiar to British music fans: Glastonbury, or any one of the other rock festivals where a sense of the absurd is always in fashion. For accessories, Galliano plundered the cheerfully weird wardrobe of acid-trippers for inflatable hats, deely boppers and helium balloons that bobbed behind the models.

However, Galliano isn't trying to escape reality. While shows for both his own label and for Christian Dior have, in recent seasons, featured vastly-proportioned showpiece frocks that bear little relation to what is sold in his stores, on yesterday's catwalk there were many wearable ­ and saleable ­ clothes. The same could be said of his show for Dior last week. It is testimony to Galliano's technical brilliance, however, that even the more "accessible" designs seen yesterday amazed the eye. Bias-cut halter-neck gowns printed with pastel-coloured brushstroke prints are the fantasy frocks his customers adore. And there was still space for the really big numbers: a sequence of crinoline dresses, in green satin or gradations of pink and yellow, closed the show.

Earlier, Chloé designer Phoebe Philo sent out a sassy and feminine collection that strengthened the cool-girl-about-town image she has created for the brand.

While the Parisians naturally tend towards a groomed and grown-up style of dress, Philo's signature look is artlessness. Take, for instance, her cocktail dresses. Sewn with bugle beads and trimmed with ribbons they may be, but her loose silhouettes confer a sense of nonchalance.

Philo is a favourite to pick up the British Designer of the Year prize at the British Fashion Awards on 2 November.

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