There were no frills or heels for Christian Dior as the label took over the Rodin Museum in Paris on Monday, putting on a fitting homage to Greek goddesses for the opening day of haute couture week.

The show opened with a long white woollen dress and matching cape, while other designs used pleats to evoke classical-era statues.

The clothes were full of clean, vertical lines and subtle shades of white, black, beige, gold and silver, with flat sandals that added to the atmosphere of antiquity.

"Actually, these clean lines hide remarkable complexity," Dior designer Maria Grazia Chiuri told AFP.

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Dior's founder had said his dresses shared an 'apparent simplicity' with classical statues / © AFP

"It was a work of subtraction. I wanted to remove the sheath, the lining -- these elements that characterise constructed couture outfits," she said.

She quoted the house's founder, who said his dresses shared an "apparent simplicity" with ancient statues.

Lightening the construction without losing the shape was the biggest challenge, Chiuri said.

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Muted, elegant colours dominated at the Dior show / © AFP

She produced several twists on the iconic silhouette of Christian Dior's New Look, structured by the fitted "Bar" jacket, including lighter, more comfortable versions and one made from stretch brocade fabric "to allow you to move like in sportswear".

The decor, designed by Italian artist Marta Roberti, added to the mood with its animals, goddesses and wild landscapes.

Unlike most couture outfits, which are designed as one-off bespoke pieces for ultra-special occasions, the new collection included separate elements that could be mixed and matched.

"There is no roadmap in haute couture," Chiuri said.

"This collection is not for the red carpet as we imagine it today. These are not items that are necessarily designed to be seen by others -- they are more for the person who is wearing them."