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John Galliano provoked gasps from the audience in the Paris Polo Club with this creation
Photo: © AFP
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Valentino meanwhile opted for a rather more delicate take on retro chic
Photo: © AFP

GOTHIC GLAMOUR AND RETRO CHIC IN PARIS

24 JANUARY 2006

Fashionistas gathered in the French capital are unlikely to forget this year's Paris Fashion Week after three of the biggest names in the industry served up eye-popping new collections. Dior, Armani and Valentino all managed to impress style pundits who went along to their shows with an explosive combination of spine-chilling theatrics and glitzy red carpet glamour.

Dior's John Galliano enthralled the audience at his show with a haute couture collection that was scarily brilliant. The British designer, who is famous for his flamboyant creations, got a resounding thumbs up from style pundits for a decidedly gothic line that both stunned and delighted his fans.

The 45-year-old sent his mannequins down the runway in dramatic medieval-style red gowns complemented by huge crucifixes and heavy boots. Almost all of the models had their faces covered in ghostly white make-up, with dark rims circling their eyes, as a soundtrack of clanking chains and whips boomed through the Paris Polo Club.

Giorgio Armani meanwhile turned up the heat with a sexy new range that offered elegance and sensuality in equal measure. The silver-haired designer combined ice-coloured satin and tangerine crinoline with a generous sprinkling of crystals to flatter the female form. "What I wanted to do was make women look beautiful in front of the mirror," explained the Italian afterwards.

And Valentino likewise seemed intent on bringing a little sparkle to his clients' eyes, with diamonds woven into the soft white Moroccan silk of many of his gowns. There was a delicate, retro feel to the chiffon ruffles and cropped cashmere coats that featured in other ensembles, though the Italian maestro also had something in store for those with a preference for old-fashioned Tinseltown glam. When an off-the-shoulder scarlet gown floated down the catwalk halfway though the show, the 74-year-old proved he had lost none of his talent for classic, red carpet style.


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