Dior provided the yin to Louis Vuitton's yang in Paris on Friday, with a serious and elegant response to its rival's flashy fashion week spectacle the day before.
Dior and Louis Vuitton have both built giant hangars on either end of the Tuileries gardens that run through central Paris -- akin to the way their billionaire owners have built rival art museums on opposite sides of the city in the past decade.
One point in common has been the presence of pop megastar J-Hope in the audience for both menswear shows, attracting hundreds of screaming girls to Concorde plaza for a few glimpses of their idol outside the Dior hangar. But the two shows could hardly have been more different.
While Vuitton's on Thursday was all primary colours and an elaborate set design, soundtracked by the thumping basslines of popstar Rosalia, Dior went with a starkly lit black runway and refined, sombre outfits, to the soaring music of German composer Max Richter performing with a small orchestra.
Vast projections showed actors Robert Pattinson and Gwendoline Christie performing excerpts from TS Eliot's "The Wasteland", lending a far more ominous tone to proceedings than much of the fashion week circus.
It was another giant of fashion history -- Yves Saint Laurent -- that provided the inspiration for the latest collection by Dior designer Kim Jones. "It felt time to look beyond Mr Dior in the archive of the house to Mr Saint Laurent -- Mr Dior's chosen heir and his successor after his sudden death," Jones told AFP ahead of the show.
"It is 65 years since his debut collection for Dior in January 1958, when he was only 21.
"We wanted to look at that transition from one world to another through the clothing, from the old to the new, adapting pieces from the archive from the feminine to the masculine," he added.
The looks included flowing trousers, long shorts and kilt-like skirts. Some borrowed from classic Saint Laurent designs, built around the theme of water, such as his sailor tops transformed into a luxury version of a fisherman's smock.
There were also very modern touches, including 3D printed shoes and boots. "I think there is a new sense of ease in the collection, in a combination of the formal and informal in single garments," Jones said.(AFP)