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Dior designer debuts Paris couture as Dunst talks girl power

Associated Press logo Associated Press 1/23/2017 By THOMAS ADAMSON, AP Fashion Writer
A model wears a creation for Christian Dior's Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2017 fashion collection presented in Paris, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation for Christian Dior's Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2017 fashion collection presented in Paris, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

PARIS (AP) — A labyrinth and a scented secret garden led to Christian Dior's enchanted show in Paris' Musee Rodin Monday.

A model wears a creation for Christian Dior's Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2017 fashion collection presented in Paris, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation for Christian Dior's Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2017 fashion collection presented in Paris, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

The hugely-anticipated couture debut from new designer Maria Grazia Chiuri kicked off Paris's spring to summer haute couture shows — the faction industry's ideas-factory that spans four days with 24 shows.

A model wears a creation for Christian Dior's Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2017 fashion collection presented in Paris, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation for Christian Dior's Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2017 fashion collection presented in Paris, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Star guests including actresses Kirsten Dunst, Diane Kruger and rapper ASAP Rocky marveled at a gargantuan magical tree constructed inside the venue, decorated colorfully with beading, lights and philosophical quotes.

A model wears a creation for Christian Dior's Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2017 fashion collection presented in Paris, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation for Christian Dior's Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2017 fashion collection presented in Paris, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Perhaps inspired by the decor, Dunst moved beyond fashion to talk to The AP about female empowerment.

A model wears a creation for Christian Dior's Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2017 fashion collection presented in Paris, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation for Christian Dior's Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2017 fashion collection presented in Paris, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Here are some highlights:

A model wears a creation for Christian Dior's Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2017 fashion collection presented in Paris, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation for Christian Dior's Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2017 fashion collection presented in Paris, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

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A model wears a creation for Christian Dior's Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2017 fashion collection presented in Paris, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation for Christian Dior's Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2017 fashion collection presented in Paris, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

DIOR'S FOREST FANTASY

A model wears a creation for Christian Dior's Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2017 fashion collection presented in Paris, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation for Christian Dior's Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2017 fashion collection presented in Paris, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Fairytale music conjured up a sensuous, magical atmosphere at Grazia Chiuri's spring-summer show that didn't fully translate to the couture.

Models wear creations for Christian Dior's Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2017 fashion collection presented in Paris, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori) © The Associated Press Models wear creations for Christian Dior's Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2017 fashion collection presented in Paris, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Taking over the creative reins of such a historic house as Dior is a daunting task, and so who can blame the talented Italian-born designer to play it a little safe?

Italian fashion designer Maria Grazia Chiuri acknowledges applause at the end of Christian Dior's Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2017 fashion collection presented in Paris, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori) © The Associated Press Italian fashion designer Maria Grazia Chiuri acknowledges applause at the end of Christian Dior's Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2017 fashion collection presented in Paris, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

The finely executed styles — floppy hoods, smooth signature peplums, feather tiaras, delicate sheer black animal masks and butterfly chokers — were pared down on sometimes minimalist silhouettes.

A model wears a creation for Christian Dior's Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2017 fashion collection presented in Paris, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation for Christian Dior's Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2017 fashion collection presented in Paris, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

The tulle and silk velvet gowns strongly evoked a fairytale or black-magic theme echoed by the forest decor and "Thought Tree" glistening with Tarot cards and gold coins.

Bianca Jagger poses during a photocall before Christian Dior's Spring-Summer 2017 Haute Couture fashion collection, presented in Paris, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) © The Associated Press Bianca Jagger poses during a photocall before Christian Dior's Spring-Summer 2017 Haute Couture fashion collection, presented in Paris, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

The binary palette — of mainly white and black, with flashes of satin red and forest green — highlighted a fairytale morality of good and bad, producing some of the show's most beautiful looks.

French actress Louise Bourgoin poses during a photocall before Christian Dior's Spring-Summer 2017 Haute Couture fashion collection, presented in Paris, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) © The Associated Press French actress Louise Bourgoin poses during a photocall before Christian Dior's Spring-Summer 2017 Haute Couture fashion collection, presented in Paris, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Full, floorlength skirts hid the elfin-like models' legs, so that they appeared to float across the mossy runway floor.

A model wears a creation for Christian Dior's Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2017 fashion collection presented in Paris, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation for Christian Dior's Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2017 fashion collection presented in Paris, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

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A model wears a creation for Christian Dior's Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2017 fashion collection presented in Paris, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation for Christian Dior's Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2017 fashion collection presented in Paris, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

DUNST SPEAKS ON WOMEN'S MOVEMENT

Dunst, whose latest film "Hidden Figures" features the untold story of three African-American women working at a racially discriminatory NASA in the 1960s, said there was no better time for the movie to come out.

The 34-year-old actress said that the "inspiring message is hugely important in the world today" as it crossed lines of both gender and race at a moment of political transition in the U.S.

"With the (President Donald Trump's) inauguration, it couldn't be a better time for this movie to come out. I'm so proud of its success," Dunst told The AP.

"This film inspires women to come out and support other women in the arts and all women everywhere. It shows a movie's real power to shape attitudes," she said.

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IRIS VAN HERPEN

Blurring the lines between fashion and art, Dutch Wunderkind Iris Van Herpen's cerebral couture collection explored imperfections and "gaps" in fashion and in science.

The catwalk of short-circuiting lines of electricity was lit patchily so that the eyes of the spectator had to keep readjusting to focus in on the 16 organic, diaphanous creations.

It had fashion insiders initially looking bemused as they tried in vain to take photos of the show with their cameras.

But they soon realized this was art.

The haphazard lighting was, in fact, the work of German artist Ester Stocker to create visual distortion — to create "a conflict of light and shadow," so said the house.

The theme of imperfection was handled perfectly in the couture, which played on textures in black and white.

High-tech material formed bumps and glistened as if wet on flat-fronted mini dresses that evoked gossamer and weightlessness. Elsewhere, fragmented patterns resemble the grooves of a fossilized shell.

Copper-plated diagonal high heels also disrupted the balance of the shoe, leaving a rectangular gap for the very thought-provoking show.

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Thomas Adamson can be followed at Twitter.com/ThomasAdamson_K

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