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Fallen star Galliano absent from his Dior show

PARIS, March 4, 2011 – The house of Dior on Friday presents Paris Fashion Week with the last of its collections overseen by flamboyant design superstar John Galliano, sacked for a drunken allegedly anti-semitic tirade.

Completely overshadowed by the Galliano scandal, the show was to take place in the early afternoon in the gardens of the Rodin Museum, in a chic district just down the road from the French prime minister\’s residence.

The British designer fell from grace spectacularly this week after claims he had drunkenly abused and used anti-semitic insults against people in a cafe in Paris\’ fashionable and historically Jewish Marais district

Galliano, 50, has apologised for his behaviour, denied the accusations and counter-sued for defamation — but a video emerged on Monday of him insulting someone else in the same bar and declaring "I love Hitler."

His case will be heard in the second quarter of 2011 and, if found guilty of racism, the couturier — who was sacked on Tuesday by Dior — could face a sentence of six months in jail and a fine of 22,500 euros ($31,000).

Fashionistas and journalists are expected to crowd into the gardens for what many of them feel is an historic moment, while Dior has told the press they are not welcome backstage.

While the fashion world has largely kept mum about the furore, Karl Lagerfeld — artistic director at Chanel and arguably the most powerful man in fashion — has said he was "furious" over the damage done to its image.

Normally the Dior show would be one of the most festive of Fashion Week, but the star designer\’s absence and the shock and anger surrounding his behaviour mean the show will likely be a more sombre affair.

The question on everyone\’s lips was: Will the show also draw the stars used to coming to see Galliano\’s latest creations, A-listers like Australian singer Kylie Minogue and South African actress Charlize Theron?

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At a Galliano show in January, Spanish film director Pedro Almodovar said he was "almost moved to tears" by its beauty.

Despite rumours that US buyers would boycott the show, Dior\’s swift suspension and sacking of its star designer mean the scandal may in fact have little fallout on the luxury brand.

"We haven\’t heard of anyone pulling out," a Dior spokeswoman said, asking not to be named.

"Everyone will be there, finger on the trouser stitching, because the moment is historic," said Jean-Paul Cauvin of industry journal Fashion Daily News.

Another question mark hangs over who — if anyone — will take a bow at the end of the show. Galliano was known for the rock star poses he liked to strike on the runway.

"This time, Dior could choose to salute the studio, all of the workers," consultant Donald Potard told AFP.

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