October 4, 2005

Dior show sparkles in restored Paris landmark

By Kerstin Gehmlich

PARIS (Reuters) - British designer John Galliano used a
"nude" theme and a dramatic light show to bring the enormous
glass cupola of Paris's Grand Palais back to life on Tuesday
after it was closed for works for a decade.

To loud drum beats, models wearing transparent,
skin-colored dresses streamed out from behind a large mirror in
Galliano's show for Christian Dior, parading into the giant

The Palais, built for the 1900 world exhibition, has housed
major art shows and was used as a hospital and lorry park
during the world wars. But its oak foundations had started to
rot, and it closed after a bolt fell off its glass ceiling in

Since then, the 200-metre-long masterpiece has undergone a
major facelift and finally opened its doors again last month.

"We are very proud to have this show in the Grand Palais,"
said Bernard Arnault, chairman of the LVMH luxury goods group
to which Dior belongs.

"I'm very excited," he told reporters ahead of the show.

Galliano used the space of the Palais for a dramatic light
show and spectators could see the models on the catwalk
reflected in the high glass-paneled roof.

He based his ready-to-wear collection on a "nude" theme,
sending out the first models in light, transparent dresses, and
adding touches of color as the show progressed.

He combined floating skin-colored chiffon dresses with
leather bands and presented a washed denim jacket with a
"nude"-colored organza skirt. He added bright patches of pink,
green and yellow to the final dresses of the show.

"I thought it was fantastic, very dramatic, very sexy,"
British actress Rachel Weisz told Reuters after the show.

"I loved how everything went from nude, or no color, to
lots of color. My favorite was Galliano himself though. Very
sexy," she said, referring to the charismatic designer who took
an extended bow on the catwalk flanked by his two bodyguards.

Stars such as American actresses Lucy Liu and Sharon Stone
also lined up in the Grand Palais.

Stone, the new face of Dior's Capture Totale beauty line,
evoked the history of the house's founder, Christian Dior, who
would have been 100 years old this year. He died in 1957.

"Mr Dior had a vision. He knew what taste was, he knew what
style was. And he knew what made a woman pretty. And I don't
think that's changed from (then) till now," Stone told a news
conference earlier on Tuesday.

"I think when we think about Dior, we think 'pretty'," the
star of sultry thriller "Basic Instinct" said.