John Galliano struck out on his own into the frozen wastes of Russian-Balkan folklore for Fall. A micro-bubble snowstorm was falling on the runway, and a trick of laser lighting created a magical illusion that the models were walking in some fairy-tale tunnel far, far removed from the brutish realities of humankind's current worries. It was theater, escapism—the creation of a parallel fantasy world upon which the concerns of "fashion" barely impinged.

Oodles of embroidery and workmanship and a ton of research into folk costume had been lavished on the details of the pannier-hipped, full-skirted coats, balloon-sleeved peasant blouses, bodices, headdresses, and pompom-trimmed cross-laced boots. Toward the end, the show moved into more traditional Galliano territory with a sequence of spun-silver bias-cut dresses that had all the delicate romance his fans adore.

Technically, it was faultlessly accomplished and—for anyone put off by the blanket of black that has fallen over many of the collections—offered some of the season's few opportunities to pick up color. But it remains to be seen whether those will be strong enough attractions to outweigh the fact that this show had very little to do with anything else that's going on.