One of the subtexts of the moment is that so many people are looking back 20 years to the high eighties, when Parisian designers like Azzedine Alaïa, Jean Paul Gaultier, Thierry Mugler, and Claude Montana were in the ascendant. (Coincidentally, Martin Margiela has a 20th anniversary this year, and Suzy Menkes has been celebrating 20 years at the International Herald Tribune.) John Galliano has had 1988 and all that on his mind, too, judging by today's collection, in which he cast his eye back to that glamazonian era of corseted waists, pointy bras, Lycra leggings, and body-conscious knitted dresses—a time before the models on his Dior runway were born.
It was clearly Alaïa and Gaultier in "Tribal" mode Galliano was referencing with all his short flippy dresses with sheer skirts, bodysuits, python jackets, spotty animal prints, and jutting bras. If there was nothing too discernibly Dior-esque here, the house's offerings were admittedly forgettable in those years—and anyway, the people Galliano seems to be aiming at this season will be too young to know or care either way. (Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is going to find herself pretty stuck for diplomatic daywear, though she might home in on an adaptation of the pink cowrie shell-embroidered evening dress as one non-sheer option to cover her for a state dinner.) Ultimately, there was no shaking off the impression that this collection lacked the creative fire of John Galliano at his best.