NEW YORK -- Enthusiastic applause greeted the bias-cut dresses and diamond accessories at the John Galliano fall fashion show and champagne brunch at Bergdorf Goodman Monday morning.
While the celebrities and society ladies who were expected for the event -- including David Bowie, Iman and Joan Rivers -- did not show up en masse, the crowd of about 120 did include such fans as Anne Bass, Josie Natori and India Hicks.
Also on hand were John Bult and Mark Rice, Galliano's backers; a phalanx of top brass from Bergdorf's, including new president Dawn Mello, and a full fleet of fashion press.
Held in a salon on the fourth floor of Bergdorf's, the show had an intimate feeling, similar to Galliano's fall show in March in Sao Schlumberger's Paris apartment.
"If you marry genius with stability, maybe there's a chance to develop something for the future," said Bult, chairman of PaineWebber International, when asked why he had decided to become involved in the world of high fashion.
Of Galliano's focus on developing a couture business, he added: "You don't want to have a house on Avenue Montaigne, spending a fortune, until you have a Chanel type of business, so we're building it slowly."
The show featured 17 pieces -- 15 of which were black and two a soft pink -- accessorized with millions of dollars worth of diamonds, both antique and new, from Van Cleef & Arpels.
There were Galliano's signature bias-cut dresses in silk or viscose crepe, silk tuxedo suits, kimono-inspired micro dresses with obis that will actually be shipped as longer cocktail dresses and teddies. The finale was a pink satin hourglass slipdress, trimmed with a mini-bustle around the bottom. A nervous Galliano came out for his bow wearing a top hat and tails over a leather motorcycle suit.
On display on the fourth floor for the Galliano trunk show held after the brunch, the collection ranged in price from $1,600 for one of the bias-cut silk teddies, to $2,895 for an acetate and viscose tuxedo suit, to $3,850 for a long, bias-cut silk dress.
"We couldn't be happier that Mr. Galliano is here," said Ellin Saltzman, Bergdorf's senior vice president, fashion direction. "Spring has sold well and fall will sell well once the short little dresses become longer cocktail dresses. The black bias dresses are divine. They are about a way of dressing we haven't seen in a long time."The Galliano trunk show continues today, with Galliano commercial director Robert Ferrell in the store from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.