The Parisian skies may have been gray and overcast for the opening of couture week, but there wasn't the faintest trace of a cloud over Christian Dior's magnificently colorful collection. John Galliano, a master at cross-referencing diverse cultures and time periods, was in top form this season with his Middle Eastern, Indian and Himalayan extravagance.

With a string orchestra from the National Opera of Paris playing live in the background, a defiant troop of militants took to the stage wearing stern military jackets, embroidered lace dresses, chic djellabas, hooded tunics and Palestinian-inspired shirts. "I put an emphasis on separates, treating couture like you would sportswear," said Galliano. His chic rebels next embarked on a virtual jaunt to Goa, donning feather-light "peace and love" tie-dye and rainbow dresses embellished with acid butterflies, cartoon characters, smiley faces, and tongue-in-cheek messages like "Trance" and "X-ta-sea."

For the grand finale, Galliano's psychedelic globetrotters sported sheepskin trenches, quilted patchwork coats, silk kimonos, massive fur boots, and a variety of asymmetric, distressed suedes and leathers. "I call it Barbie Goes to Tibet," said the designer of his eclectic sartorial cocktail. Uplifting and exuberant, the Dior show proved that fun and serious fashion are not incompatible. "All the ethnic research was great inspiration," said Galliano. "But ultimately, the collection is about the lyricism of fabrics and clothes."