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Dior celebrates nature to kick off Paris Fashion Week

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Models wear creations as part of the Dior Ready To Wear Spring-Summer 2020 collection, unveiled during the fashion week, in Paris, Monday, Sept. 24, 2019. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

PARIS (AP) — The drizzly weather in the French capital didn’t rain on Dior’s parade as the powerhouse staged the first major show of Paris Fashion Week on Tuesday.

On the contrary, rain was a fitting accessory for a forest-themed show at the Longchamp Racecourse that celebrated nature and ecology. The earthy scent of wet soil from a forest nearby wafted around fashion editors and celebrities who included Julianne Moore and Jennifer Lawrence.

Here are some highlights of Paris Fashion Week ready-to-wear shows for Spring-Summer 2020 including Saint Laurent:

CHRISTIAN DIOR’S SISTER

Dior’s first female designer, Maria Grazia Chiuri, pulled off a clever twist for the season, when the House of Dior’s legendary founder wasn’t the usual inspiration for the designs.

In Christian Dior’s place was his colorful and rebellious sister, Catherine Dior, known simply as Miss Dior.

Chiuri delved into the house archives and came back channeling a photo of Catherine, who was a gardener and born in 1917, surrounded by flowers.

The result was a decorative and quirky collection. It riffed on gardening and on the buttoned-up collar styles Miss Dior wore. Straw hats in natural hues or dyed black, some with contrasting trim, defined the tone of the 67-look show with a central eco-theme.

The program notes said the hats were fashioned in raffia, a natural fiber made from palm leaves. Against the forest backdrop, it made quite the fashion statement.

A loose striped mini-dress in the style of a gardener’s apron opened the show alongside a beautiful A-line full skirt that teemed with intricate organic embroidery.

Later, the collection loosened up with as an open coat-collar silhouette and a series of fluid silk gowns in pastel shades and floral prints.

But despite the fresh quirks, the collection had many designs that left an impression they have been seen before.

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DIOR’S ECO TREES

Chiuri’s shows are all about a “message.” During previous seasons, it often was about feminism and the fight for women’s rights.

For Tuesday’s display, the Italian designer turned her attention to ecology.

Celebrity models, including Natalia Vodianova and Karlie Kloss, posed in a square, tawny brown annex with a forest-scape of diverse and unusual trees.

The set was a collaboration with Coloco, a landscape design firm with an ecological focus that cultivates trees and plants and re-uses them in projects.

Model and actress Laetitia Casta, admired Dior’s push for environmental awareness.

“Fortunately, we’re being vigilant and we are conscious (of ecology) as it is the future and the next generation, even, or especially, in the world of the luxury industry,” Casta said. “With art, we can achieve great things. And we need to get the message across.”

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KATE MOSS’ CHILEAN BOOK LAUNCH

In a dazzling column dress in gold leopard print, Kate Moss sipped golden champagne and stole the limelight on the first day of Paris Fashion Week at the evening launch event for a new book she edited, “Musings on Fashion and Style: Museo de la Moda.”

The book of photographs centers on the eye-popping collections of Chile’s Museo de la Moda, one of the world’s biggest private fashion museums. Its archives include examples of 19th century Dolman shawls, Marilyn Monroe’s black gowns, Jimmy Hendrix’s Indian tunics and contemporary Balmain sequin dresses.

The museum in Santiago, which opened in 2007, does not have the international name-recognition it deserves. The volume edited by fashion muse Moss features pieces she hand-picked.

Pieces selected for the book were displayed for guests at the Paris book launch, such as 1920s opera coats and designs from swinging ’60s London.

Museum director Jorge Yarur Bascunan said the collaboration with came about by chance when Moss visited Chile.

“Out of the blue, I got a call one day saying Kate Moss is coming to Chile. It happened she loved the vintage feel of the archive pieces,” Bascunan said. “The book happened organically.”

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RIHANNA SKIPS POP-UP STORE LAUNCH

Rihanna did not attend Paris Fashion Week on Monday, but the singer–designer was there in spirit when the latest pop-up store for her new style brand, Fenty, launched at the flagship of French department store Galeries Lafayette.

The see-now-buy-now collection included jewelry, eyewear, shoes and clothing. Rihanna upped the sophistication for many garments this season, such as an oversized pinstriped coat with sloping shoulders and a unisex feel, and a dazzling silken tuxedo jacket with jagged double lapels.

News of the singer’s groundbreaking deal with LVMH, the world’s largest luxury group, shook up the fashion industry in May. Rihanna is the first woman and the first person of color to create a major brand for LVMH from scratch.

For the launch, Galeries Lafayette’s usual light-colored mannequins were traded for dark ones, recognizing black consumers of luxury goods. Attending fashionistas praised the effort to show diversity.

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MARINE SERRE’S COVERED UP

The new darling wunderkind of Paris Fashion Week, Marine Serre, sent her models outside to brave the elements on a rainy autumn day.

Guests at the show clung tightly to umbrellas as they viewed designs that channeled a covered-up aesthetic – thankfully for the weather-beaten models.

Skintight undergarments paired with long black gloves, knee high cowboy boots and crinkled black PVC raincoats began the show of accomplished styles.

Serre then moved in a more sophisticated direction with vintage-style patterned undergarments and tailored jackets in vivid red.

It’s been a meteoric rise since the French designer from Correze won the coveted LVMH fashion award at age 25 in 2017.

The designer has said she sees her style”combining and absorbing codes from radically different worlds” while ignoring traditional “boundaries between ready-to-wear, couture, tailoring and sportswear.”

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SAINT LAURENT’S BOHO DISCO

Disco beams, graphic ’70s silhouettes and boho styles mixed at Anthony Vaccarello’s spring offering for Saint Laurent — that served up more of the same from the Belgian designer.

The Eiffel Tower glimmered in the backdrop; admired by the equally starry front row, including Cindy Crawford, Andie MacDowell, Catherine Deneuve and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Tuxedo styles with plunging V-neck were one key silhouette.

But the best looks strayed from the famed house signatures in styles that captured a sort of bohemian-disco style.

A one shoulder, gown in glimmering gold and blue cut a highly creative shape: It sported a cinched waist, peaked shoulder and a loose 70s arm, nipped at the cuff.

It was accessorized by the ruffled leather knee high vintage-style boots that has come to be synonymous with Vaccarello. There were few great artistic leaps this spring summer.But perhaps the designer doesn’t want to change course on the saleable aesthetic he’s continued with the house since taking over the reins from Hedi Slimane in 2016?

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Thomas Adamson can be followed at Twitter.com/ThomasAdamson_K

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