Showing real clothes just comes naturally to some designers, while others are new converts to the notion this season. Then there are those for whom experimentation will always reign supreme.

Christian Dior: Let's get naked — er, nude. And let's do it in high style courtesy of John Galliano, whose spring collection for Christian Dior both intrigued and confounded his audience. A merch fest of the sensual-chic sort, it was filled with beautiful clothes and a fab new slouched-up take on the saddle bag flaunted exit after exit. Yet it took the crowd by complete surprise, especially given the venue — the soaring, spectacularly renovated Grand Palais, a setting many thought would inspire Galliano to equally grand levels of theatrical splendor, all costumed ingeniously and referenced clear up to the cupola and beyond.

Instead Galliano stripped away all fancy, even down to plain hair and makeup, save for a few geometrically whitened eyelids, while building on a single reference from his elaborate July couture collection. That made for spare, nude-toned clothes overlaid with black lace and piping for corsetry outlines and various markings of construction. He worked the motif every which way, in dresses, coats, pants and even a trio of politely alluring two-piece swimsuits, digressing only ever so slightly to replace the black outlines with crystals or to allow the nude to amp up into shades of pink and orange. And because a girl must chase the chill somehow, Galliano countered the overall wispiness with sporty washed denims and a few voluminous leather coats. High evening was but a moment — swaths of chiffon and organza festooned and bunched seemingly at random, yet with the same ethereal calm as the day clothes.

It all made for a lovely, if low-key affair. And if some found it too much so from Galliano, conversion may be only a retail season away.

Lagerfeld Gallery: Karl Lagerfeld is in reevaluation mode. Last week, he established a dazzling new direction at Fendi, and on Wednesday morning, he laid out his creative blueprint for growth mode at Lagerfeld Gallery. In it, he made no-nonsense, unfettered clothes interesting by the well-placed flourish, as if he deliberately sought a mood of Yankee practicality laced with a soupçon of Continental chic. It should provide plenty to smile about in the Hilfiger camp — whatever happens there.

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