PARIS — French couture house Christian Dior upended its traditional catwalk show last week, presenting its intricate designs on miniature mannequins in a twist brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Brands had to unveil their collections online and through film as part of Haute Couture week in Paris, a showcase of high-end craftsmanship and one-of-a-kind outfits, after the presentations usually attended by fashionistas from around the world were canceled in the wake of the outbreak.

Dior’s gowns were inspired by female surrealist artists such as photographer Lee Miller and featured intricate embroideries as well as head-to-toe feathers in one lilac look.

The looks were fitted onto 37 tiny dressmaker’s mannequins, which will later be dispatched to top clients around the world, and were presented to the public last Monday through a whimsical film shot by Gomorrah director Matteo Garrone.

“We made this project in a very particular moment of our lives,” said designer Maria Grazia Chiuri, who began working on the show remotely under lockdown in Rome, coordinating with seamstresses and production crew who were also at home.

The traveling miniatures echoed a format French couture houses last used during World War Two to try and keep collections going and reach customers.

Chiuri said the label had sought to send the message that “traditions were alive” in Paris.

“It’s a different experience. But I think it’s a beautiful experience,” Chiuri said of working on the film, which featured nymphs and mermaids mesmerized by the couture gowns. — Reuters