PARIS (Reuters) - Luxury materials, exquisite craftsmanship and sweeping dresses take centre stage at the Paris haute couture fashion shows this week, where designer brands unveil their autumn/winter collections.

French luxury label Dior showcased its atelier's craftsmanship on Monday in a monochrome collection of black and white trouser suits, puffy skirts and sleek evening outfits.

Models wore tailored trouser suits as well as hourglass jackets over calf-length skirts, paired with flat black sandals.

Designers Lucie Meier and Serge Ruffieux took inspiration from Dior's signature waist-cinched Bar jacket for the collection, elongating it or giving it a straighter form.

Detailing came in tops with ruffled bottoms, puffed-up sleeves as well pleating and draping on strapless evening dresses and organza skirts. There were also sheer outfits and intricately embroidered jackets and skirt combinations. The only other dab of colour came as golden embroidery.

"Monsieur Dior himself adored the juxtaposition of the two: 'White,' he said, 'is simple, pure and goes with everything,' while declaring, 'I could write a whole book about black'," the brand said in show notes of its founding designer.

Meier and Ruffieux have been leading Dior's creative team since designer Raf Simons left last year. Dior is expected to announce that Valentino designer Maria Grazia Chiuri will be joining the brand, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters last month.

On Sunday evening, Italy's Versace kicked off its Atelier Versace show with belted cashmere coats worn over satin dresses.

Models strutted down the catwalk in off-the-shoulder or asymmetric draped gowns, some worn with slim trousers.

Other dresses had cut-out features as well as plenty of pleats for the evening. Adding to the luxurious feel were crystals adorning evening coats and twisted satin drapes on gowns, fit for a celebrity red carpet.

High heels with twisted leather knots were de rigueur.

For the colour palette, designer Donatella Versace contrasted pale pink and blue with black, as well as using bold red and dabs of lilac.

Other brands presenting their fall 2016 haute couture creations this week include Chanel and Giorgio Armani Prive.

(Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Louise Ireland, Larry King)