Paris Fashion Week Day 1
Spring, electricity in the air

THOMAS ADAMSON
The Associated Press
Modified: January 23, 2013 at 5:24 pm •  Published: January 23, 2013
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photo - Models present creations by Raf Simons for Christian Dior's Spring Summer 2013 Haute Couture fashion collection, presented in Paris, Monday, Jan.21, 2013. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Models present creations by Raf Simons for Christian Dior's Spring Summer 2013 Haute Couture fashion collection, presented in Paris, Monday, Jan.21, 2013. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

PARIS — There's never a gray moment for haute couture.

As it snowed outside, it was a spring garden party for Christian Dior on Monday, the first day of Paris's spring-summer 2013 season.

A roll call of A-list celebrities were able to enjoy agreeable weather thanks to a lavish garden created for the Dior show? replete with hazelnut trees and scented boxwood hedges — in an annex inside Paris' famed Jardin des Tuileries.

Sigourney Weaver, Jessica Alba, Rosamund Pike as well as French first lady Valerie Trierweiler were able to dry off on the front row to explore Raf Simons' creative flower-themed landscape of gowns.

The spring season often lends itself naturally to earthly explorations, and the show's first day proved this in abundance.

Italian-born Maurizio Galante's designs had the delicate layering of forest foliage, whereas organic themes abounded in 28-year-old wunderkind Iris Van Herpen's death-defying ode to electricity in the human body.

But Donatella Versace — who rebelled to show at the end of menswear fashion week and outside the official calendar — is always one to buck the trend.

Her designs' unapologetic, gold contours looked almost superhuman in their sculpted proportions, not to mention sexy thanks to the exposed flesh. But the Italian designer didn't convince everyone, not even Kevin Costner, who watched from the front row with his wife.

"Yes, I suppose Versace makes them sexy," the actor mused after the show. "But the most beautiful woman here is sitting next to me."

Haute couture is an artisan-based method of making clothes that dates back over 150 years. The very expensive garments, shown in collections only in Paris twice a year, are bought by a core group of no more than 100 rich women around the world.

CHRISTIAN DIOR

Spring was in the air at Christian Dior, whose couture show carried on with last season's idea of the "flower women."

The show saw multi-layered flower embroideries and detailing that increased — like a blossom — as the 47 looks progressed. It was a nice idea, but detailed gold, yellow and blue appliques sometimes detracted from the gowns.

The collection's subtlety was to be found, instead, in Simons' exploration of sections and layers through color.

Apart from the staple hourglass shape that's familiar Dior territory, Simons experimented away from the house DNA, with colored sections on ensembles which seemed to grow in stages, like a plant shoot.

This produced some of the show's best looks, like strips of pale lemon, off-white and pale lilac, which broke up one embroidered, black silk bustier. Or one silk ball skirt that expanded out at a line, like an organic growth spurt.

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