Dior plays it safe with post-Galliano spring look

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Cloche hats and tweedy black and white prints by day, sensual organza at night, Christian Dior, the world's most talked-about fashion house since the fall of John Galliano, played it safe Friday in Paris.

Backstage, Dior Couture's chief executive Sidney Toledano quashed speculation it was poised to name a successor to Galliano, seven months after he was sacked over a racist insult scandal, replying: "Show some patience!"

Extravagant New York designer Marc Jacobs is strongly tipped to move from Louis Vuitton, which is a jewel of the Dior-owned LVMH luxury conglomerate, for the job, but talks have reportedly proven difficult.

Dozens of journalists, bloggers and fashion hangers-on packed the street outside the Rodin Museum hosting Friday's ready-to-wear show by Dior which has been at the heart of fevered speculation since the scandal.

But the Fashion Week crowd gave a muted welcome to the line showcased by Galliano's right-hand man Bill Gaytten, who has run Dior's ateliers since March.

Orlando Bloom, spotted in the front row, was one of the rare personalities who turned out for the event, a world away from the star-packed flamboyance of the Galliano days.

Gaytten's haute couture collection for Dior in July was not well received.

This time, with black and white herringbone prints that reworked Dior's classic bar suit, all nipped waists and padded hips, classic Dior red, pale grey and pink, he stuck closely to house codes.

Gaytten told reporters he drew inspiration from Dior's earliest collections, but that he went for "soft necklines, no shoulder pads, larger sleeves, a higher waist".

By day, Dior's woman was the epitome of Parisian chic, covered up against a nippy spring breeze in cropped wool jackets over knee-length skirts.

There were cloche hats in black, white or tan leather, and high-waisted skirts in bouncy, floaty organza -- black, red or blue -- which flattered the silhouette under wool and silk jackets.

A red trompe l'oeil dress paired a silk skirt with a leather sleeveless top, cinched with a fine belt at the hip.

Donino-size square patterns were the exception in a collection built on single-colour or two-tone outfits.

At cocktail time Dior's woman dressed up in fiery red organza -- of course "red was Dior's favorite colour," Gaytten said.

And by night, she slipped into ultra-sexy, lingerie-inspired silk or lace dresses that left long trains swishing over the catwalk, revealing bare skin or patterned black silk stockings.

And the US supermodel Karlie Kloss closed the show in a jaw-dropping dress, with long-sleeved black lace top above endless, sweeping sheer silk skirts in the palest of pinks, worn over naked, swaying hips.

© 2011 AFP

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