Sporting chance for Galliano

John Galliano showed his second haute couture collection for the House of Givenchy yesterday, in a sports stadium on the outskirts of Paris.

The eccentric British designer, who received his applause at the end of the show dressed in a billowing silk shirt, a pair of floral print trousers at half-mast and Scholl exercise sandals, has breathed new life into the House that he took over last year.

It is unthinkable that Hubert de Givenchy would ever have shown anywhere other than the Grand Hotel, let alone a huge sports stadium, but Galliano uses the space to build a fantasy to complement his clothes and he had planted a whole forest of pine trees in the middle of the sports floor.

Haute couture is a closed and conservative world, and while Galliano might think that leopard print fun fur makes for great couture, the women who have pounds 20,000 to spend on an evening gown will be loathe to part with their money.

However, there were some masterful dresses, including a green chiffon evening gown, hand-embroidered with flowers and hand-pleated mousseline Josephine empire line dresses. For day there was a gaberdine skirt-suit with pleated sleeves and signature Givenchy bows on the pockets. For cocktail hour, pelmet length lace slip dresses were worn with garters and suspender belts peeking out.

There was underwear a-plenty on show Jean Paul Gaultier's menswear show on Saturday afternoon. The madcap kilt-swishing designer and Eurotrash celebrity hosted his show in the foyer of the Palais Royal Theatre. For a few hours, the plush red and gilt hallways were transformed into an old world bordello with harlots and starlets parading their business.

Gaultier's shows, like Galliano's, are as much about theatre as clothes. But his ideas will make the journey from catwalks to shoprail with ease. He is a fine tailor, and take away the naughty baby-pink corsetry and the peephole bum-cheek jeans (and that's just for the men) and you are left with a strong, commercial collection.

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