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Marion Cotillard causes fracas at Christian Dior's encyclopedic Paris show

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PARIS — There was something frantic in the air on Friday at Christian Dior.

The queue for the ready-to-wear spring-summer 2015 fashion show snaked out way past the storied walls of Paris' Louvre and dangerously into the road.

Frenzied bloggers, and photographers — as well as curious tourists — pushed and shoved for a glimpse of Oscar winner Marion Cotillard. She arrived tardily in a demure black Dior couture gown with large abstract collar and entered through the giant mirror-clad annex.

The swarm might have had to do with Carla Bruni. Despite creeping in quickly, sparkling in a diamond encrusted Bulgari snake necklace, the former French First Lady and ex-supermodel triggered a media scrum and myriad iPhone flashes as she mingled near actress Dakota Fanning.

It's little wonder — in the age of Twitter — that such a sense of desperation clings to the Dior shows: Four times a year, for a mere 15 minutes, when celebrity, fashion and the world's media collide.

The start of the collection brought a much welcome calm.

Designer Raf Simons continued the historical musing seen in the couture collection — mixing influences from 18th century French royal court attire with a contemporary menswear twist.

PHOTO: Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, second from left, Katia Toledano, third from left, Dior fashion house CEO Sidney Toledano, third from right, actress Marion Cotillard, second from right, and Dakota Fanning, right, attend Dior's Spring/Summer 2015 ready-to-wear fashion collection presented in Paris, France, Friday, Sept. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, second from left, Katia Toledano, third from left, Dior fashion house CEO Sidney Toledano, third from right, actress Marion Cotillard, second from right, and Dakota Fanning, right, attend Dior's Spring/Summer 2015 ready-to-wear fashion collection presented in Paris, France, Friday, Sept. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Take, for instance, a couple of great 3-D Marie Antoinette "panier" dresses. They were subverted with pilot and astronaut uniform straps in the top. The result was a great sort of Versailles punk.

The silhouette was generally long — like in some beautiful, and surreally proportioned, lengthy black calf leather Edwardian coats. They worked well with the hand-woven, knee-high boots. Collars were often high, as in the 18th century, and it was an interesting, if unusual, style.

But, on the whole, this collection felt more "daywear" than the grand structured robes of July's well-received couture show. The styles might be described as "couture lite."

Simons said he wanted what he had started in couture "to be made available to a wider audience."

Yes, but in transposing the couture down to ready-to-wear meant the ideas in this show sacrificed some energy, and lacked a little focus.

Still, the mixing of the contemporary and the historic worked to a tee, in the space-age interiors of the venue, inside the oldest courtyard of the Louvre Palace.


Thomas Adamson can be followed at http://Twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP

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