Manish Arora’s spring/summer 2011 collection.

The Indian designer does not simply hold a catwalk show – he creates an entire fantasy world.

The show featured extraordinary beading, multicoloured patterns in Krishna blue and temple gold, shoes encrusted with flowers and gilded straps which wound round the legs like a python, and a series of crystal dresses and separates inspired by the 1960s Miami art of Hiroshi Nagai, with beaded hats shaped like the gas-guzzling cars of the era.

Balenciaga’s spring/summer 2011 collection.

The look was layered and futuristic, as we have come to expect at Balenciaga, with nothing turning out to be quite what it seemed: shirts with no back, tunics in what resembled crumpled up sweetie wrappings.

Short coats with rounded collars and a “shirt-tail” hem came in exploded checks, from the Balenciaga archive, in blue/black or red/black shiny patent, or mixed with a speckled tweed. When they morphed into jackets, they were paired with tiny black skirts with silver-studded and curvy, black leather belts slung around the hips.

Issey Miyake spring/summer 2011 collection.

Fujiwara, designer for Issey Miyake, however, was thinking more of a fashionable ‘ghost’, an effect he created on the body with transparent layers, and softly wafting silhouettes that represented phantoms. The ghostly effect was heightened with the appearance of strong-colored kaftans, robes and batwing-dresses, in a new techno-mesh so light and fine, it almost appeared to float.

The models emerged from a cloud of dry ice, firstly in functional pieces in shades of white and black – anoraks over papery trousers, dresses shot with silver discs, or fan-pleated, and a spectral, full-length gown in open-work knit.

Nina Ricci spring/summer 2011 collection.

Christian Dior spring/summer 2011 collection.

John Galliano set sail for a South Sea island paradise with a rollicking romp of a show for Christian Dior, at the Paris prêt-à-porter season on 1st Oct.

Palm tree prints, sailors’ hats, nautical jackets, matelot trousers, and sarong-gowns accessorized with leis, created a colourful, upbeat and highly-wearable collection infused with tropical colour and witty accessories.

The collection, for spring/summer 2011, mixed a variety of marine themes, from Polynesia and the docks of Marlon Brando’s “On the Waterfront” to the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, “South Pacific”, and Rainer Fassbinder’s 1982 film, “Querelle”.

The clothes blended tough-guy T-shirts, sailors’ trousers, life-vests and nautical cagouls, with flimsy, chiffon mini’s, bubble-hem dresses, and fringed, ‘hula’-gowns.

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