Nipped waists, flared hips and delicate pleats: Dior's new designer Raf Simons on Friday offered up all the ingredients of the house's iconic silhouette, reworked for a "sensual" 21st century woman.
Shown midway through Paris Fashion Week, the first ready-to-wear line by the Belgian designer -- who took over from the disgraced John Galliano in April -- was eagerly awaited after a well-received haute couture show in the summer.
Rapper Kanye West, supermodel Eva Herzigova, Robert de Niro and Luc Besson, taking a break from shooting their new film "Malavita" to attend, were among the A-list crowd packing the purpose-built venue at the Invalides military hospital.
"I loved it all, especially his work on the cuts" the couturier Azzedine Alaia told AFP after the show, which channelled the house's spirit, but with a decidedly contemporary edge.
Inspired by Dior's classic "bar" suit -- nipped waist and gently flared hips -- a dinner-jacket reworked as a tiny black dress, both elegant and terribly sexy, probably best defined the look.
Delicate pleats adorned little jackets by day, while for evening Dior's woman slipped into long skirts of rose-print satin in white, pink or metallic blue, beneath simple silk and cashmere knit tops.
Mini-dresses wrapped around the body, with a double-sided coloured flare furling out at one side, while bustier-dresses of pink or yellow satin curled around the bust, above tiny black wool shorts.
The soft-spoken Simons was mobbed backstage by a crowd of media and well-wishers after the show -- having to duck outside for air, exhausted but "very happy".
"I wanted a very new look," Simons told reporters. "I wanted to give it a kind of classicism and something very Paris."
"It's very strongly connected to Mr Christian Dior's codes, with a lot of pleating and flaring."
Before the show, the question on everyone's lips was where Simons, who has made a mark since the 1990s as a sober avant-gardist, would take Dior's tradition of light-footed feminity.
Minimalist yes, dull no, came the answer, loud and clear.
"Minimalism is not only a wide shirt and stiff pants -- a non-shape," Simons said. "I wanted to bring the feel of the future, with the fabrics, a couture satin but also a super-futuristic organza.
"To make like a new sensual, sexual future.
"I was defined as a minimalist -- and I love it -- but it's really not the only thing I am interested in," Simons added. "The main reason for coming to Dior is because I am interested in exploring further."
Serge Carreira, professor at Sciences-Po university and an expert on the luxury industry, said Simons is "far from copying the master".
"He delved into Dior's rich universe, and gave it a modern twist, he adapted it in a way that is rigorous but not rigid."
Simons' arrival marks a clean break with the exuberance of the Galliano years, which came crashing to an end when the British designer was sacked over a racist outburst in a Paris bar last year.
Asked about the house's new direction, Dior chief executive Sidney Toledano said the new look was "modern, while retaining the feminity and sensuality of Mr Dior."
"The Dior brand is constantly evolving, while staying true to its values," Toledano told AFP. "We live in a time when we have to keep responding to change and stay ahead of the game."
"What a creator like Raf does is to sense what people, what young people want to wear, what is going to get them excited."