Christian Dior: It’s possible that John Galliano’s theatrical proclivities at Christian Dior have reached a critical point of diminishing returns. Or perhaps he just didn’t give his fall collection for the house the attention it needed. Whatever the reason, the show Galliano staged on Wednesday presented a peculiar example of way too much being not quite enough.

This rockabilly-themed costume parade mocked the glories of the designer’s past extravaganzas, because, for all its oversized, overstated humor, in one significant respect it was lean, lean, lean. Where was the typical bounty of ideas, as this collection offered only a few? On the up side, evening dresses that fell gently on the body offered a divine alternative to the skintight siren fare now standard on the red carpet. Each one was a knockout of the gentle sort. A big, embroidered bouquet graced a white silk chemise; multiple circular appliqués gave a hot pink silk a post-modern Deco feel. And Galliano’s bold handbags, each dangling a giant pair of dice, flaunted the notion of fashion gambles. On the down side, gigantic coats in garish colors and prints, often decked with boatloads of fur, just look too cartoonish.

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