The couture shows, one of the most fun times of year in the fashion calendar, are here. While you were getting drunk and sunburned yesterday in honor of our nation's independence, the finest, most expensive dresses in the world were beginning their biannual parade anew in Paris. Christian Dior remained one of the most anticipated shows of the season, but for very different reasons this season than so many past. Dior couture walked in Paris without John Galliano overseeing design for the first time since 1996. And though his absence is surely felt at the end of the show, when he would take a walk down the runway and bow with all the flourishes of one of his models, it was felt more in the clothes on the runway — a collection critics agree lacked polish, restraint, and clear vision. Bill Gaytten, Galliano's right-hand man who was recently appointed head designer of the John Galliano label, oversaw this couture collection as well as the most recent Galliano men's show, which critics looked on approvingly. Yesterday's dresses were a very different story.
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