Stephen Jones has been hatmeister for the John Galliano collection since the Second Ice Age, so he's fluent in the house's vocabulary. And his mention of Nancy Cunard as a reference point for the feathered, crystaled constructions in today's show jibed tidily with Galliano's time-sanctioned appetite for extravagant, eccentric women. But that wasn't exactly what designer Bill Gaytten had in mind. He'd been brooding on the furniture designs of Marc Newson: molded plastic and metal, acute emphasis on construction.

When you put those two creative impulses together, what you got was something that matched retro—panne velvet, sweetheart necklines, belted waists, flaring skirts, and high-waisted pants—with modern in the form of velvet bonded to neoprene and snipped into crocodile scales, or copper beading that streamed down the seams of an ivory evening dress. "Luxury and femininity" were Gaytten's stated goals, but there was something intensely peculiar about his take on both. For one thing, panne velvet is not a fabric that zings with luxury—or modernity. For another, Gaytten mixed up a visual effect for his velvets and georgettes that looked like a strange contagion. And yet there was still something appealing about the result, a bit like an adult cartoon. And nothing said that as effectively as the lizardskin shoes with a Mohawk of antelope fur.