Where were we? Kubla Khan's stately pleasure dome, suggested the invite; a Vegas-style Buddha-themed garden, suggested the set—and a cavernous hall somewhere on the far-flung outskirts of Paris, according to the map. In fact, once the show actually started, we were firmly back in familiar John Galliano territory, the place where he gets to do all the things he loves with bias cutting, retro coats, and overblown headgear.

After the eye clicked onto the Poiret-period Orientalist houri pants and tassel-detailed, handkerchief-point gowns, the significance of the backdrop snapped into focus: It was a pastiche of a Rudolf Valentino-era silent-movie set, and Galliano was dressing the leading lady. He always adores a crazed actress as a muse, of course, though she's never one to be relied upon to stick to any literal script. This season, as ever, her wardrobe slipped between decades—from fragile bias-cut thirties chiffons and ruffled furs to forties-print dresses and flowerpot fifties hats to gargantuan knitted caps that could only have been dreamed up yesterday.

If it didn't make for one of Galliano's wildest collections, it will look good in stores. His delicious palette of dusty salmon pinks, pale blues, teals, and burgundies is guaranteed to reverberate amongst the sea of black that's destined to hit racks this fall. On top of that, there's news for fans to check out: Right on time to catch the season's excitement about jewelry, Galliano is launching his own line, which liberally bedecked the girls in the form of oversized brooches and neckpieces.