Paris Fashion Week: Galliano Lite from designer's successor

The first John Galliano ready-to-wear collection under the label's new creative director had all the trappings of a classic Galliano display, but none of the outrageous excess that was the heart and soul of the brand.

Galliano was ousted from his signature label - and from Dior, where he'd spent 15 years as designer - in the wake of a March scandal over anti-Semitic and racist ravings during a series of drunken spats.

His long-time right-hand-man, fellow Briton Bill Gaytten, was named to succeed him as creative director of the house of Galliano and is also filling in at Dior pending the appointment of a new designer there.

Since he stepped out of the shadows and into the spotlight earlier this year, Gaytten has presented three collections, and his strategy so far has appeared to be to serve up Galliano Lite: Looks that mimic the disgraced designer's signature styles, but are stripped of the over-the-top outrageousness that made them brilliant in the first place.

For his first ready-to-wear collection at the helm of Galliano, Gaytten sent out the sort of flippy skirt suits and feather-light bias cut silk dresses and gowns that have long been the house's staples.

But the styling at yesterday's spring-summer 2012 show in Paris was toned-down: Flat-topped straw hats were a poor substitute for the kinds of outsized headdresses Galliano models used to sport. And instead of the traditional thick layer of graphic war paint, the models wore only the lightest touches of tasteful neutral makeup.

While it would be difficult to fault Gaytten for his more-than-respectable showing, it was hard to get too excited about it either.

- AAP

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