John Galliano’s spectacular collection at the Opéra Comique revolved around the muse Maria Lani, a real-life character who, in the 1920s, inserted herself into the Paris art scene and conned her way into sitting for the most prominent artists of the day—Matisse, Chagall, Léger, Modigliani—only to sell the paintings and hightail it to America with the profits.
Dressed as Lani in her various portraits, models sashayed down the runway, looking squarely into the audience and giving them seductive smiles from behind their dark makeup. Coco Rocha pulled dollishly at her pigtail braids as she flounced about in a sailor shirt, while Carmen Kass sported a bright yellow bouffant to offset a bright blue blouse. It was a full-on showcase of coquettish Belle Epoque glamour: lace bloomers, short trench coats cinched high on the waist, delicately layered ruffled dresses, exquisitely sequined sheaths, sheer tops in fluorescent pink, and a decadent silk kimono accented by a parasol.
As Galliano came out for the finale, an explosion sounded and the Opéra transformed into a magical snowglobe awash in confetti and unbridled glee. Even Anna Wintour cracked a smile at the blast of pageantry.