Paris Plays It Safe

John Galliano was predictably unpredictable at Christian Dior; Julien Macdonald went back to basics at Givenchy; Karl Lagerfeld played with pretty at Chanel; and Donatella Versace retreated to the Versace boutique. At a time when the world's economy is shaky at best, the designers at the haute couture shows in Paris last week took no risks. They each did what was expected of them — even if that meant the unexpected.

This time Galliano, Dior's designer, travelled to Asia, bringing back giant kimonos, hats that looked like ancient buildings, and two troupes of Chinese acrobats. The effect nearly...

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