A Galliano show is usually an excuse for a fashion bacchanal, the clothes just one component of a son et lumière spectacular. Now the mighty have fallen. Today's outing consisted of 20 looks presented in a salon on Avenue Foch. But what better testament could there be to the genius of their creator than that there was scarcely any sense of diminishment? In fact, attendees with memories unimpaired by the poisons that have been addling Galliano's own brain were irresistibly drawn back to his epochal March 1994 presentation in the hôtel particulier of patron Sao Schlumberger. That was a beginning, this was an end, but there was the same essence of Dietrich glamour, untrammeled imagination, beauty out of time, presented in an intimate, inescapable way.

The thirties line that Galliano always loved was revisited in the rigorous tailoring he excelled at, but it was wickedly updated: Karlie Kloss' jacket was tattered, the fur-collared number that followed was paired with a pencil skirt in latex. The hand of Galliano the master seducer was obvious in a silk jacket in a dégradé plaid, which was belted over a slipdress. Another slipdress was worn under a latex-yoke organza coat. A clutch of the bias-cut beauties that were the designer's original calling card were preceded by Kloss in a breathtaking full-skirted, halter-neck gown with an arrowhead motif. If it couldn't distract from the ugliness of recent events, it also underlined the loss. Likewise, the classically draped one-shoulder closer, which was gathered at the back with pink ribbons. They were the sort of dresses you could imagine in a once entirely justifiable museum retrospective of Galliano's work. But could such a thing even happen now?

You might think what happens next could be reasonably inferred from the actions of Galliano's parent company, Christian Dior, over the past week. They've cut the designer loose, which would normally imply that none of these clothes would see the light of a retail day. And yet Dior CEO Sidney Toledano, who didn't mention Galliano by name in his speech at Dior's Friday show, was greeting guests at today's presentation. And, the Galliano showroom is taking sales appointments. The world continues to work in mysterious ways.