PARIS, June 25 ― Sports kit and Greek goddesses from Christian Dior vied for attention with living sculptures from Iris Van Herpen as haute couture went high concept at Paris Fashion Week yesterday.

Paying homage to the Olympics a month before the Games in Paris, Dior presented some glamorous if improbable sportswear, including gold-feather swimsuits and a red bathrobe decorated with mosaics of mirrors.

Dior's show was held in the gardens of the Rodin Museum around works by African-American artist Faith Ringgold who died in April.

Its monumental embroideries on the theme of sport are being exhibited throughout the week.

Haute couture week features ultra-expensive, one-off bespoke clothing and comes straight after the conclusion of the menswear shows in Paris.

Schiaparelli kicked off the week with a “back to basics” approach that dispensed with some of the gimmicks like fake animal heads or the baby robot that drew a lot of attention in recent shows.

“I didn't want a robot baby. I didn't want anyone to talk about anything but the clothes. No tricks, no anatomy,” creative director Daniel Roseberry told reporters after the show.

“I kept coming back to this idea that no one knows how to say Schiaparelli, but everyone knows what it means,” he added.

Van Herpen's sculptures

Also putting on a show yesterday was Dutch designer Iris Van Herpen, fresh from a blockbuster retrospective of her work in Paris this year.

She presented a unique artistic performance for her latest show: no catwalk, just five models stuck to huge canvases performing slow dances.

Once over, these “aerial sculptures” were carefully dismounted to the delight of the fashionistas.

And India's Rahul Mishra gave a typically flamboyant display, with glittering outfits packed with rhinestones, sequins and glass ― though without the usual wild colours.

“I was working on the idea of aura and you always think of colour, but the more I thought, the more I was lost. Aura is infinity, space, mystery ― so black became the mood, like seeking in the darkness in space,” he told AFP.

Thirty couture shows are due before Thursday. Valentino and Fendi are absent this season, but Balenciaga and Thom Browne have joined the calendar.

Couture shows only happen in France, which strictly regulates what meets the definition.

The creations are mainly destined for red carpets, major jet-set events and royal weddings, attracting a crowd of the uber-elite who come to scout out party outfits, including Kylie Jenner and Doja Cat at Schiaparelli, and Jennifer Lopez and Korean muse Jisoo at Dior. ― AFP