The umbilical connection between John Galliano's couture collections and his ready-to-wear shows for Christian Dior couldn't help but generate anticipation for today's presentation. How would he transmute that gorgeous floral extravaganza he delivered in July? In a typically cunning lateral move, the designer drew a bead on the tropics, which his congenital showmanship turned into a riff on a South Pacific-style fantasy of spic-and-span naval men and their fabulous floozies.

The masculine edge of the spectrum came off best: A white parka, a gunmetal blue leather peacoat, a suede flying jacket, and a navy donkey jacket had a refreshingly straightforward gutsiness. Galliano served the island theme best in a Hawaiian-printed halter dress, a hot little peekaboo crocheted silk number, and a ruffled turquoise shift embroidered with big orange flowers. But then the energy seemed to slip away as night fell over Michael Howells' driftwood beach-house set and the girls came out in a string of sheer silks. The colors were suitably tropical, but there was a vampy, campy lassitude in the boudoir-ness of it all, a fact that the Roxy Music-heavy soundtrack acknowledged. Kudos, however, to Iris Strubegger for channeling Joan Crawford so brilliantly.