Sun, 06 Mar 2005

From: AFP

Galliano caters to stars at Dior with chic ready-to-wear

Susan Stumme, Agence France-Presse, Paris

British designer John Galliano on Tuesday proposed a sensual, chic winter wardrobe for off-duty starlets at Christian Dior, while Japan's Naoki Takizawa offered a poetic study in contrast at Issey Miyake.

"Just what do off-duty icons wear?" Galliano asked in the program notes for his Autumn/Winter 2005/06 collection. Singer Diana Ross, actress Julianne Moore and rocker Marianne Faithfull eagerly awaited the response in the front row.

Answer: lots of leather, fur, velvet and chiffon, all in measured doses. As he did last season, the British designer abandoned his penchant for theatrics to turn out a ready-to-wear collection of ... wearable clothes.

For daytime, Galliano offered nifty white fur jackets over comfortable black-and-white striped mohair sweater dresses, smart belted red crocodile coats edged in mink and sleeveless sheepskin dresses with bubble skirts.

Cropped embroidered gold lame trousers and a trim khaki jacket seemed perfect for the star looking for a bit of attention when she goes shopping in Manhattan. Long chocolate brown leather coats offered a more subtle option.

Galliano dressed his models up a bit in velvet dresses in warm autumn colors like rust and burgundy, or a lemon yellow bustier, printed layered skirt and a luxurious ginger fur stole.

For evening, a glittering siren gown in midnight blue devore velvet or a black, white and red printed chiffon number oozed glamour.

"We're at our best right now with a designer who has vast experience and who understands the demands," Christian Dior Couture chairman Sidney Toledano said before the show, noting this season's "excellent" sales.

"Things are going very, very well with John," he added, refusing to comment on the renewal of Galliano's contract, which is due to expire this year.

At Issey Miyake, Takizawa drew inspiration from a black-and- white film by Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu, developing a collection of outfits in pairs to study the differences in texture, proportion and form.

The pure cut of a simple black trench gained volume when the designer attached an extra piece of fabric to the shoulder of the white version. Slim skirts with ruffled hems came with varying hemlines.

As he has in recent seasons, Takizawa cut his clothes close to the body, accentuating the feminine form. He twisted a charcoal gray dress with graphic white lines around the body to create added texture and movement.

An eerie light emanated from the flounced bodice of the final white gown down the catwalk -- a symbol of the lightness of the entire collection.

After more then 30 years in the business, Britain's Vivienne Westwood is still having fun. She delighted the Paris fashion crowd with a dose of British eccentricity and her signature rock- and-roll attitude.

Westwood's designs are marvelously crafted, with layers and layers of silk and taffeta in a jumble of prints and stripes snaking around the model's body in a seemingly haphazard way to effortlessly form a jaunty dress or skirt.

She chose "Propaganda" as the theme of her collection for next winter, discreetly incorporating fabrics bearing the word in giant letters into her designs. Towering two-tone leather boots added a naughty edge.

A series of black cocktail dresses served as the perfect backdrop for the launch of Westwood's Hardcore jewelry line. Chains of silver with diamond charms filled the ample decolletage.

The final billowing bronze ball gown simply sparkled, encapsulating the romantic spirit of Westwood's work. Ever the rock princess, she strutted down the catwalk to Kim Carnes's 1980s hit Bette Davis Eyes at show's end.

Marithe and Francois Girbaud, the king and queen of denim, called their collection "beautiful dirty" -- a nod to the slightly grunge silhouette created by layered skirts and cropped jeans with frayed edges.

Trim corset tops contrasted with pouf skirts, while full-cut trousers revealed the trademark Girbaud love of masculine tailoring. Zips and metal accents gave the collection an urban edge.