PARIS - Christian Dior brought fun and a touch of fairytale to the start of Paris Fashion week with a collection featuring multi-coloured dragon motifs and glittering bodices reminiscent of mosaics.
In a grotto-style hall assembled for the show and decorated with fragments of mirrors, Dior's creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri reasserted her stamp on the French fashion house on the one-year anniversary of her arrival.
The decor echoed the bold-coloured figurative sculptures of late French-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle, one of the inspirations for the collection.
Models wore an array of bright coloured stripes combined with see-through, flowing skirts, while the washed-out denim outfits, black-and-white chequered prints and baker boy style caps sported by some also gave the collection a playful 1960s air.
"I enjoy fashion -- that's what I want to say," Chiuri told reporters after presenting the fashion house's spring-summer 2018 show, in the ground's of Paris's Rodin Museum.
The week of shows all around the city runs until Oct. 3 and began a day earlier than usual on Monday night with a show by French label Jacquemus.
Chiuri, the first female creative director at Dior, came from Valentino and presented her first collection last September for the label, which is part of luxury goods specialist LVMH and is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.
She has sought to send strong messages to women in her designs, and Tuesday's show opened with a model wearing a T-shirt that read: "Why have there been no great women artists?"
The line referred to an essay by American feminist art historian Linda Nochlin.
Saint Laurent, part of Kering, another luxury goods firm, is also set to unveil its latest offering later on Tuesday, following the death earlier in September of the fashion house's influential co-founder Pierre Berge following a long illness.
Berge, who became a patron of the arts and later headed up the Bastille Opera in Paris, was the partner of late designer Yves Saint Laurent and helped him bring the label to prominence.
Saint Laurent's creative director Anthony Vaccarello will be presenting his second spring and summer ready-to-wear collection, after also making his debut a year ago.
More than 80 fashion houses will showcase looks for next year over the coming days at Paris Fashion Week, which closes the latest season of shows that have whizzed through New York, London and Milan. (Reporting by Sarah White and Reuters TV Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)