Though the couture shows are a little extreme for my taste (well, they would naturally be – the designers are looking for headlines and attention from magazines), you can’t deny that some of the clothes are glorious.

Here is the order for the pictures…

The top photo is DIOR. The following two are GIVENCHY. Then the next big picture is DIOR. The last one is CHANEL.

In the first heavyweight show of the season, CHRISTIAN DIOR designer John Galliano looked to the skilled horsewomen of the 19th century for his collection of nip waisted jackets and flowing skirts.

Forget the it bag.

DIOR called on the chic women of the world to ditch their handbags for a truly useful accessory: the riding crop. The models, in skirt suits of fine red and gray wool, wearing veiled top hats and lace up boots with towering heels, were all carrying whips.

Besides the equestrian garb – built on a variation of DIOR’S iconic Bar jacket, with heavily draped peplums – the collection also included short cocktail dresses covered in outrageous embroidery and jewel toned ball gowns that evoked the long, stately silhouette of a John Singer Sargent painting.

Knockouts in the ravishing collection included a shell pink halter gown with a cascading train in tobacco colored silk and an olive green halter jacket and draped pencil skirt, worn with above the elbow fuchsia gloves and bracelets hung with dangling, egg sized chunks of amber.

John Galliano, who always appears in costume to take a final bow, strutted the catwalk in white jodhpurs, a velvet jacket with tails, boots with a considerable heel and the summer’s next big accessory – a swishing whip.

A circus vibe permeated the GIVENCHY show on Tuesday, day two of Paris’ spring/summer 2010 haute couture displays.

But GIVENCHY’S was the kind of circus where the tightrope walkers perform without a rope and the lion tamers regularly get eaten.

Designer RICCARDO TISCI, a connoisseur of the dark side, sent out a sumptuous collection of beaded pantsuits and sheer organza dresses – often paired with variations on the ringmaster’s long tail coat – that fairly seethed with foreboding of bad things to come.

CHANEL was a much sunnier place. Massive columns fitted with fluorescent bulbs glowed in a rainbow of pastel shades that matched the sweet pinks, peaches, mint greens and baby blues of the all pastel and silver collection.

There was but a single black and white look in the whole show as uberdesigner Karl Lagerfeld decided to steer clear of the storied label’s hallmark colour combination. Lagerfeld himself was wearing gray for the occasion.


CHANEL was basking in a luminous pastel glow.

Models in buttery yellow culotte suits, fancy plissed tank dresses in baby blue silk and frothy pink gowns minced down the catwalk on boots with silver rococo heels and pearl studded soles.

Some of the looks had a dreamlike quality. An off the shoulder bubble dress awash in tiny silk ruffles evoked sea foam or a cloud. The wedding gown – which traditionally closes haute couture displays – had silver sequin covered sleeves and a fluffy train in marshmallow pink. Little blobs of silver, like liquid mercury, dotted the seams of the peak shouldered jackets which were paired with high waisted culottes.

Never one to neglect his accessories, Lagerfeld decked the models out in fingerless gloves like the ones he often sports and fastened fancy bows into their massive winged bouffants.


Looks that deserved a spot on the center ring in RICCARDO TISCI’S dangerous big top were the column skirt covered in minute emerald beads and a sheer silk top and a pantsuit and cropped jacket in electric blue beads that looked made for the world’s chicest lion tamer.

The show, which had been edited down to just 22 looks, had plenty of the kinds of organza and sequin concoctions that in the hands of most other designers would have come off as fluffy or, at best, demurely girly.

But Tisci is able to imbue even the loveliest most ultrafeminine looks with a subversive edge that makes you take one look at the ingenue sporting his powder pink silk cocktail number and feel the need to check whether she’s wielding a knife behind her back.

Singer Ciara – who took in the spectacle from her front row perch next to Kanye West and his girlfriend Amber Rose – said she was attracted by GIVENCHY’S darker side.

The label “is about taking risks – and having edge and being strong,” the singer told The AP in a backstage interview.

Ciara, who was wearing a printed top from GIVENCHY’S ready to wear collection, said she had her eye on the electric blue pantsuit to wear at her concerts.

Clearly, she sees herself as a lion tamer.

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