In the fashion world, as in show biz, the show must go on, and so it did at disgraced former Dior designer John Galliano's signature label _ though in an admittedly scaled-back and truncated form.
Dior fired Galliano last week amid allegations he made anti-Semitic comments, throwing the fate of the designer's eponymous brand, which is owned by Dior parent company LVMH Moet Hennessy, into doubt.
For several days after the surprise sacking, it wasn't even clear the label's fall-winter 2011-12 ready-to-wear collection would be shown to the press and buyers at all. But finally company executives settled on holding a low-key presentation instead of the big-budget blockbuster runway shows that have become a trademark of the house.
Galliano, who's rumored to be in rehab in Arizona, didn't attend Sunday's presentation.
The event, held in a town house in Paris' moneyed 16th district, showcased just 19 looks _ fewer than half of what would typically be shown on the catwalk. Models in full Galliano regalia traced lazy circles around Baroque, flower-covered centerpieces, pausing in front of the photographers' pits to strike exaggerated poses.
The clothes, bias cut gowns in sheer chiffon and oversized outerwear, was old school Galliano. Voluminous tweed jackets were paired with pencil skirts _ some of them in pastel tinged latex _ and flirty little pleated sundresses poked out from beneath fur-trimmed parkas. Marabou feathers undulated lazily from the hemline and sleeves of a long, lean gown in black silk that glinted with sequins.
At Friday's Dior show, where the full 60-odd-look, Galliano-overseen collection was shown without the designer, the makeup was toned down. But the girls at Galliano were in full splendor, their lips painted into little bow shapes, their eyes heavy with liner and shadow and their cheeks shimmering with pinky blush.
Maybe it was the eyepopping makeup and garb, or the golden afternoon sun that streamed in through the windows, but the general mood at Sunday's presentation was lighter, less somber than at the almost funereal Dior show.
Dior CEO Sidney Toledano, who at Friday's show denounced Galliano's comments in a strongly worded statement, was also on-hand for Sunday's presentation, glad-handing industry insiders. Though what his presence there meant for the company's uncertain future was far from clear.
"It's the million-dollar question: What was Toledano doing there?" said Style.com editor-at-large Tim Blanks.
Asked whether he thought the fashion world had come to terms with Galliano's fall of almost Greek proportions, Blanks responded, "This wound is one that's going to take a long time to heal."
The uncertainty of the situation could be partly to blame.
Beyond the question of what will happen to the John Galliano label, the designer's successor at Dior has yet to be named, sparking near-constant speculation. The name of just about every high-profile designer has been bantered around, but the popular opinion has settled on Riccardo Tisci, the madly talented Italian at the helm of another LVMH-owned Paris label, Givenchy.
Galliano's own future, too, is in doubt. A Paris court has ordered the 50-year-old designer stand trial on charges of "public insults based on the origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity" against three people.
The trial could take place between April and June and Galliano could face up to six month in prison and euro22,500 ($31,000) in fines, if convicted, prosecutors said in a statement.