Byline: Ruth Benoit

PARIS — A shuffle in the Paris haute couture schedule will result in Christian Dior opening the season and the Dutch duo Viktor & Rolf closing the five days of runway shows.
Traditionally, Versace has been the first important show at which the front row is often filled with celebrities like Madonna, Puff Daddy and Prince.
But this season, the house of Dior decided to go first, with a slot at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 8, while Versace will present the same day at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.
A Dior spokesman said there were different reasons for the decision but would only comment that “it is interesting for Christian Dior to open the couture.” He added that the house will show in a new venue, as it has always done since John Galliano took over as couturier in 1996. Some of the extravagant locations he has used in the past include the entire floor of the Grand Hotel and the Paris Garnier Opera.
Viktor & Rolf skipped the couture collections last January to concentrate on launching its ready-to-wear.
Other movements on the official couture schedule include a new member on the official calendar, Jean Charles de Castelbajac, who will launch his first couture collection.
And on the ever-growing “unofficial” couture calendar, newcomers include Peter O’Brien, the Rochas rtw designer since 1990, who will launch his first couture line under his own name. O’Brien will continue designing the Rochas rtw. Morteza Pashai, an Iranian who has been designing clothes for private clients for a number of seasons, will also stage his debut runway show.
E2, the husband-and-wife team of Olivier and Michele Chatenet, will present their third collection of reworked vintage clothing matched with their own designs on the opening Saturday. The week will close with a party hosted by the Chambre Syndicale du Haute Couture on July 12 at the Musee Galleria.