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Paris Fashion Week: John Galliano en pointe with Nureyev-inspired collection

January 25, 2011 | 12:15 pm

Sure, "Black Swan" has made ballet a motif of the moment, but for his Fall and Winter 2011 menswear collection, John Galliano sought inspiration from a ballet superstar of another era -- Rudolf Nureyev.

Down a runway so crowded with mirrors, ballet barres, steamer trunks and even a piano it could have been the set of a stage play, Galliano sent an equally theatrical collection that referenced key periods in the dancer's life, including his roots in Siberia, the rehearsal studio, his 1961 defection from the Soviet Union and finally his rock star status on the world stage in the 1970s.

That meant a parade of Russian émigrés in layered coats shaking baby powder snow from their immense fur hats, dancers clad in chunky knit cardigans, leg warmers and ballet-style T-shirts, slim-silhouette tailored suits (inspired by Irving Penn photographs) all in muted neutral tones, along with a few brightly colored outfits like the catwalk Cossack ensemble -- blousy purple trousers with vivid orange flowers paired with an embroidered shirt knotted at the waist, inspired by Nureyev's Tatar heritage.

Once you unpack all the steamer trunks of Galliano stagecraft, the collection doesn't seem to offer as much in the wearable realm for anyone who isn't bellying up to the ballet barre or readying for a sojurn to Siberia.

But that didn't keep it from being one of the most meorable runway shows of the week.

-- Adam Tschorn, reporting from Paris

Photos: Looks from the John Galliano Fall and Winter 2011 menswear collection shown Friday during Paris Fashion Week. Credit: Jonas Gustavsson & Peter Stigter / For The Times