Lovers Charlize Theron and Sean Penn electrify Dior's couture show, as fashion gets political

  • Article by: THOMAS ADAMSON , Associated Press
  • Updated: July 8, 2014 - 10:13 AM
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From the left, actors Charlize Theron, Sean Penn, LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault, his wife Helene, Valerie Trierweiler, and French actress Isabelle Huppert attend Dior's Fall-Winter 2014-2015 Haute Couture fashion collection, in Paris, France, Monday, July 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon))

Photo: Jacques Brinon, ASSOCIATED PRESS - AP

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PARIS — They're a couple rarely seen in public, together only since February.

So when Academy Award-winning power-couple Charlize Theron and Sean Penn walked in to Dior's Monday show, holding hands and sat prominently on the front row, it's not only the couture gowns that dazzled guests.

France's former First Lady Valerie Trierweiler, meanwhile, took politics to the catwalk, using couture week as a platform to raise awareness for the missing Nigerian schoolgirls in the latest example of red-carpet activism.

Here are highlights of Day Two of the Paris haute couture fall-winter 2014 collections, including show reports from Christian Dior, Giambattista Valli and Schiaparelli.

CHARLIZE THERON AND SEAN PENN

Theron and Penn triggered a frenzy as they arrived together the Paris' Rodin Museum show hand in hand.

Thirty-eight-year-old Theron — a brand ambassador for Dior — wore a gold shimmering fringed cocktail dress similar to the one she appears in for Dior's now-iconic "J'Adore" perfume advert.

She and 53-year-old Penn, who wore a black Dior suit with open shirt, chatted with LVMH boss Bernard Arnault.

That held up the show, but that didn't seem to help another Oscar-winning guest who was running late.

"Hunger Games" star Jennifer Lawrence ended up having to catch a repeat of the show later in the day because her flight was delayed.

DIOR COUTURE'S "FORWARD AND BACK" ENCYCLOPEDIA

"Encyclopedic" sums up Raf Simons' latest adventure for Dior — his most masterful yet.

Set in a circular ballroom catwalk, the Belgian designer ambitiously channeled some four centuries of style — with a fashion-forward twist he called "forward and back."

Simons' journey started with 18th-century dresses fit for an avant-garde Marie Antoinette.

Voluminous exaggerated French ball gowns in pale jacquard silk were made contemporary with trapeze structuring.

The couture novel continued in eight distinct chapters, with guests gasping in delight each time they were transported on to a different era.

There were the long-line coats of Edwardian England — one in dark gray cashmere that gently curved down the body stood out in its deceptive simplicity. Elsewhere, a beaded off-white flapper-style gown shook vibrantly as the model walked.

Then came the famed Bar Jacket of the 1949 "New Look" — represented in this exhaustive 62-piece show by exaggerated collars in black, and one great flappy coat in cobalt blue wool.

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