Dior blanketed a mansion in fresh-cut flowers Monday to fete its new designer Raf Simons, and his playful, modern spin on the house's iconic silhouette on day one of the Paris haute couture shows.

http://stylefrizz.com/img/Raf-Simons-Christian-Dior-Haute-Couture-Fall-2012.jpg The fashion galaxy had been bubbling with excitement to see the avant-gardist Belgian's debut at Dior, more than a year after its flamboyant frontman John Galliano was sacked in disgrace over a drunken, racist outburst.

Sharon Stone, Jennifer Lawrence, Marion Cotillard and Isabelle Huppert were among the A-listers there for the show, set in five opulent rooms bedecked wall to ceiling with a thick canopy of flowers - a million buds in total - each in a different hue.


Workers toiled through the night to affix the white orchids, red roses, blue delphiniums, yellow goldenrods, and for the Christian Dior, room pink roses and garden flowers, in a nod to the house founder's passion for flowers.

For the clothes too, Simons said he looked to the 1950s roots of the house, when the couturier was at its helm, taking the "architecture" of his classic silhouettes and reworking them for a modern woman.

Dior's "bar suit" - a pencil skirt and jacket with a nipped waist and a flare at the hips, called a basque - was suggested in slender black pantsuits, in bustiers, on coats and bare-shoulder dresses with structured, flared skirts.

For cocktail time, Simons paired bare-back dresses of fluid silk crepe, in fuchsia or the house's trademark red, with black or navy cigarette pants.

A band of electric blue silk was draped bustier-like over the chest, joined at the back with a panel of coloured embroidery, worn over black wool pants.

And for chillier nights Dior's woman could step into midnight blue dresses made entirely of mink and astrakhan fur.

From blacks and deep blues, the palette swept up via tie-dye motifs and intricate floral embroidery, to the palest pinks and blues, like on a show-stopping series of ball gowns fully embroidered with downy feathers.

Judging by the crush of people pressing to congratulate him after the show - including top designers Marc Jacobs, Alber Elbaz or the veteran Pierre Cardin - Simons did not disappoint.

"There was all of Dior's fragiity, and Raf's modernity," summed up Lanvin's star designer Alber Elbaz.

"I thought it was sublime, very inspired," Cotillard told AFP afterwards.

"We are very lucky to have this very intellectual designer," said Stone, who like Cotillard is one of the faces of the luxury brand.

The Dior show was a major highlight of the three days of haute couture shows running until Wednesday, with Chanel and Givenchy to follow on Tuesday and Jean-Paul Gaultier on Wednesday.

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