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Gothic glamour and retro chic in Paris

January 23, 2006
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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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Photo: ©
John Galliano provoked gasps from the audience in the Paris Polo Club with this creationPhoto: © AFPy
Photo: ©
Valentino meanwhile opted for a rather more delicate take on retro chicPhoto: © AFP

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