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Dries Van Noten and John Galliano wow critics at Paris Fashion Week

Dries Van Noten

Paris Fashion Week may have started with some low-key labels but Wednesday really saw it shifting into a higher gear as two of its favourite sons sent out a new fashion vision to universal acclaim.

Both Dries Van Noten and John Galliano (at Maison Margiela) can be a little hard for the outside world to get their heads around at times. But the critics were unanimous about their respective offers for Spring/Summer 2016. It was a definite thumbs-up.

Galliano, the controversial ex-Dior designer, has already given Margiela a boost just by his presence (only a few months ago the company’s CEO said sales started to rise as soon as his contract was announced, even before any Galliano-penned product hit the shelves).

So will his new offer push those sales further? Most likely. His ‘Lo-fi,sci-fi’ collection was actually a mix of retro and modern that was more Galliano than Margiela – but that’s surely not a problem given the designer’s ability to convince women to part with serious cash for his clothes and accessories.

It had a vintage edge, a hint of Japanese and the boys-dressed-as-girls theme we’ve got used to with Galliano lately. As Vogue Runway said: “Galliano is back on his game again.”

Van Noten’s offer was an easier buy-in with what the critics agreed were visually appealing colours and fabrics and some strong shapes.

Cue gemstone colours, shimmering silk brocades, and some great two-colour patterns. They were used for three-quarter-sleeved duster coats, shirts with full skirts, bras over T-shirts and a lingerie-meets-tailoring edge.

The New York Times called it a “rich eccentric vibe” while WWD said it was “elegantly tailored bohemianism with a wry sensuality that both mocked and embraced commonly held notions of sexy dressing,” and both those descriptions just about summed it up.

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