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Dior leads Paris fashion on a dance as Gucci goes for gags
[PARIS] Dior led Paris fashion week on a sensual dance Monday with a spectacular show woven around a new modern dance piece by choregrapher Sharon Eyal to kick off the nine-day extravaganza.
Icily restrained models brushed past writhing dancers in a performance specially created by the acclaimed Israeli in a fog of mist and falling paper petals.
Designer Maria Grazia Chiuri told AFP that using dance was "an act of liberation" to break free from the catwalk corset.
Gucci -- which quit Milan for the French capital to show its spring summer collection -- later got in on the act by taking over a Paris theatre and having singer Jane Birkin, her back turned to most of the audience, sing her 1983 hit "Baby Alone in Babylone".
With K-pop superstar Kai mobbed outside by fans, Gucci's designer Alessandro Michele served up an extra large helping of the oddball 1970s kitsch which has made him such a hit with millennials.
Mickey Mouse manbags, wacky Y-fronts, sleeping mask shades, underpants on the outside of slacks and medallions as big as mayoral chains are only a taster of some of the wacky new looks fashion's jester-in-chief pulled from his wide-brimmed hat.
- Gucci's jokey bad taste -
His playful, luxuriant bad taste could not be further from Chiuri's earnest elegance.
Chiuri said she wanted to replicate dance's "naturalness... but also its discipline" in a striking collection full of flesh tones and nifty headwear.
Pirouetting deftly from Martha Graham-style robes fit for Greek goddesses to elongated tutus and hip-hop tank tops, the Italian blurred the lines between ready-to-wear and haute couture.
Chiuri, a committed feminist and the first woman to lead the fabled French house, said the show was "about liberty. Clothes are tied to the body and are very personal."
And she insisted that like each dancer, every look was individual. "There are none of the sequences (of looks) you usually get in fashion shows, each look is for each model."
Channelling the ghosts of dance greats like Isadora Duncan and Pina Bausch, Chiuri said she was trying to capture the "powerful explosion of the female imagination".
The show -- in a specially built auditorium at the Longchamps race course on the edge of Paris -- was a hymn to the carnal and the fleshily human, she told AFP.
"These days everything seems virtual but we do things by hand in our workshops. All the floral printing, the tye dye is done by hand, it's couture, it's not industrial."
- Misted up Instagram queens -
With all the billowing dry ice, the designer also wanted to frustrate the front row Instagram queens who spend their time snapping the shows rather than looking at the clothes.
"People miss the moment because they are spending their time taking photos with their phones. I wanted them to experience a show differently... to feel it," she added.
"It is dance and a fashion show, it is not a traditional catwalk experience at all."
Even so Chiuri -- who is known for her sharp eye for accessories -- appeared to have hit the social media bullseye with her skin-tone square front-window sun glasses and "CD" (for Christian Dior) belt buckles that were being shared on Instagram within minutes.
- Beret nice -
The designer began with typically austere and ethereal monochrome black and white tulle dresses before sending out a shimmering run of skin-tone looks followed by muted greens, greys, ivory and navy blues.
Fishnet and embroidered dresses and tights ran through a sizeable slice of the collection that was as also strong on classily muted florals, tye dye and restrained ethnic edging.
The woman who has helped make the French beret hip again created a new feather-light version for spring and summer as well as more tight-fitting skull caps with British hat designer Stephen Jones, also wrapping her models heads in two rounds of taupe-coloured ribbon.
Chiuri finished by giving the classic 1950s New Look Dior fitted jacket a radical chic upgrade, matching it with combat trousers and even bleached denim trousers.
The Dior designer was not the only Italian star on Monday.
Gucci's decision to show in Paris rather than in Milan base hammered home yet again how utterly dominant the French capital has become in the last few years.
Young French debutant Simon Porte Jacquemus also turned heads with a breeze collection of barely there beach chic dresses for those with the most beautiful of bodies to show off.
Those that don't took consolation in his tiny handbags, huge earrings and equally enormous shoulder bags.