PARIS (Reuters) - Italian designer Maria Grazia Chiuri unveiled a fairytale-like debut haute couture collection for French fashion house Christian Dior on Monday, presenting flowing flowery dresses, capes and plenty of intricate craftsmanship.

Dior's first woman artistic director, who previously spent some 17 years at Valentino, took inspiration from labyrinths for the line on the second day of fashion shows at Paris' Haute Couture spring/summer 2017 week.

Amid a lush garden setting at the French capital's Rodin museum, models opened the show in Dior's signature Bar jackets in black, re-invented into capes with hoods and worn with lace tops, pleated skirts and wide-leg ankle-length culotte trousers.

The looks were accessorised with black see-through masks, sometimes formed as butterflies, as well as feather headdresses.


Chiuri also presented a selection of white dresses before moving onto dream-like frocks in pink, mauve, grey and blue for the evening.

Flower embroidery adorned the tulle and organza dresses, some of them strapless, others with spaghetti straps, as did a variety of tarot symbols and stars. The princess-style gowns came in ruffled layered styles or with lace decorations.

Models wore necklaces with butterflies or flowers. Flowers adorned headdresses for the romantic look. There was also a selection of dark velvet and metallic coloured evening gowns.

"I think that we have to maintain this dreaming idea of couture but at the same time I don’t want to lose the wearable idea," Chiuri told reporters.

"(A) labyrinth is a place where you go inside and it’s also just a little bit dangerous ... but at the same time you believe that it’s possible to find a way. I think in some way it represents my new adventure in couture at Dior."

At her debut ready-to-wear line for Dior in September, Chiuri showcased an eclectic collection, mixing "sport couture", street style and fairytales, for the brand looking to appeal to young fashionistas.

A selection of luxury labels, including Chanel, Giorgio Armani Prive and Valentino are showing their expensive creations at Paris Haute Couture Week, which runs until Thursday.

(Reporting by Johnny Cotton; Additional reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)