L-R: Linda Evangelista, Irina Lazareanu and Mariya Markina.

Sheer opulence is but one way to describe Dior's haute couture show to mark the fashion house's 60th anniversary. We all knew it would something to behold and John Galliano certainly didn't fail to deliver on that. The show itself was equally about the designs as it was about who wore them. A crop of the world's leading models including Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Helena Christensen and Lily Cole took to the catwalk in a spectacular extravaganza held at Paris' Versailles Palace. One notable absence was Kate Moss who was due to model a Gainsborough-inspired dress but pulled out at the last minute amid claims of a bust-up with her fiancée Pete Doherty.

But nothing could stop this show from going ahead last night, not on Galliano's books. His creative genius has ensured he has retained the position of head designer at Dior for ten years. Dedicating the milestone to his former right-hand man, the late Steven Robinson, Galliano produced a breathtaking collection inspired by artists throughout the ages. A thousand guests witnessed the magic as it appeared and moved in front of them opening with a nod towards Dior's first achievement - the 1947 New Look. Gisele Bundchen led the charge in a black "Bar" suit, a picture of the wasp-waisted, full-skirted, post World War II silhouette.

L-R: Gisele Bundchen, Helena Christensen and Olga Sherer.

Colour and volume developed slowly but surely throughout the show with influences of Dior's long reign over the fashion industry clearly evident. Theatrics refused to take a backseat to the historical journey Galliano was taking his audience on. Inspirations from his time in Spain rang through with flamenco music and matador dressing. Artists spanning 500 years took on different forms with Naomi Campbell representing a pre-Raphael painting inspired by artist Alma-Tadema.

L-R: Naomi Campbell, Shalom Harlow and John Galliano.

Closing the show was Shalom Harlow who, painted as a doll and draped in emerald green taffeta was the embodiment of Michelangelo’s muse. Nevertheless, a Dior couture show would never be complete without a colourful finish from the master himself - John Galliano, who was of course dressed in bull fighter regalia. What a night!

[Images: Catwalking.com]

Related: Galliano dedicates star studded Dior 60th anniversary show to Steven Robinson