July 5 - Paris Fashion Week kicks off with Anne Valerie Hash show but eyes remain on John Galliano. Doug MacLaurin reports.
EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL Paris Fashion Week has kicked off with designer Anne Valerie Hash launching her Autumn/Winter collection. But what the fashion world was really talking about was the absence of John Galliano, after his controversial departure from Dior in the wake of being charged with hurling anti-semitic abuse at a couple in a Paris bar last February. A verdict in the Galliano case over the incident is expected in the next few weeks. He has since apologised for his behaviour - but the whole affair has thrown the industry leader's professional future into question. SOUNDBITE Anne Valerie Hash, saying (English): "I think this season we will feel Galliano's absence because he is such a masterpiece. And it will be really a big emotion on the couture. It's very different from the Pret-a-Porter. So everybody's looking at what is going to happen at Dior, and it's a balance between sadness and a new page we turn." Some commentators have said Galliano's departure is a further blow for the haute couture industry, whose dresses can cost tens of thousands of dollars and which are sold to only a tiny and dwindling global clientele able to afford it. But Hash, whose own intimate show featured only two models, said prospects remained good, equating the products to fine French food and wine which sells the world over. Doug MacLaurin, Reuters.