FASHION: THE NEW KID IN TOWN

HIS FIRST COUTURE COLLECTION WAS UNEVEN, BUT GALLIANO PUT PARIS ON NOTICE

IN RECENT YEARS THE FANfare that precedes a Paris couture season has consisted mainly of statements from fashion eminences dourly predicting the early demise of the wildly expensive handmade-to-order business. Why then were the spring openings so vibrant, so full of beauty, craft and rich detail? At Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld outdid himself with a masterly display of chic invention and exquisite attention to fit; the pick of the supermodel pack were on hand, and they never looked prettier. At Dior, Gianfranco Ferre chose a theme of flowers--surely an invitation to cliche--and turned out a collection with lightness and youthful charm. Christian...

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