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PARIS (Reuters) - Christian Dior went psychedelic on Monday, kicking off the first full day of Haute Couture week in Paris with a collection mixing styles, prints and fabrics reminiscent of the 1960s and 1970s.
Raf Simons, the French brand's designer for nearly three years, said he was inspired by "the romance of a near past, when space-age and mind-expanding ideas of a future felt full of possibilities for society, pop culture and fashion".
Wearing ultra-mini skirts, transparent printed plastic capes and tattoo body suits, models strutted to David Bowie's 1972 Ziggy Stardust album in a room decked with white scaffolding and mirrors.
Striking silhouettes included a flashy silver-sequined, tight-fitting bodysuit worn with lilac-colored, low-cut boots, and corolla-shaped romantic white dresses with flashy blue or yellow, knee-high, vinyl boots.
Critics said this new Dior couture collection cemented the view that Simons was making his mark at the fashion house with his original shoe designs with a particular focus on heels.
This collection included boots with an empty rectangle shape of a heel with glittering crystals on the bottom. Previously, stilettos featured a slightly curving heel and pumps had plastic soles like running shoes.
Christian Dior is one of the biggest fashion brands owned by LVMH.
Earlier on Monday, Schiaparelli, the inter-war period fashion house being resuscitated by Italian luxury goods magnate Diego Della Valle, also offered a voyage through time.
The show, orchestrated by artistic director Jean-Paul Goude, featured models walking down the runway to a modern version of Ravel's Bolero, wearing cocktail dresses inspired by Schiaparelli's 1935 "stop, look and listen" collection.
The brand, known for zany pieces such as the lobster dress worn by the Duchess of Windsor, re-opened its atelier two years ago in the same building it used to occupy in Paris' plush Place Vendome, more associated today with jewelry than with fashion.
Schiaparelli's pieces included a gold lame tuxedo jacket with a short skirt and a huge bow fitted at the back as well as a flowing, long black tulle dress with printed stars of all colors.
"Many of these dresses made me smile," said French comedian Valerie Lemercier, who was sitting close to singer Carla Bruni Sarkozy. "And it does not happen very often that fashion makes you smile."
The collection was the first put together by the brand's internal team after the abrupt departure last year of designer Marco Zanini, who previously worked at Rochas, Versace and Dolce & Gabbana.
Della Valle, Tod's executive chairman, said he was in no hurry to find a replacement, saying he preferred to build a team of young talents, whom he expects eventually to be led by a creative director but not by a designer who would strongly imprint his personality.
"I want to create a factory of style in Place Vendome," Della Valle said. "The idea is to explore the archives and the Schiaparelli style but with a modern touch."
Editing by Robin Pomeroy