Natalie Portman has praised Maria Grazia Chiuri for designing garments that ''understand'' women.

The 38-year-old actress - who has been the face of Miss Dior since 2010 - thinks Christian Dior's first female artistic director, has been a breath of fresh air for the fashion industry because she has created pieces that are for an everyday woman who likes simplicity.

She said: ''It's wonderful to have a woman designing for other women, someone who understands us, and knows that maybe we might want to wear a T-shirt with a skirt and flats, or have pockets in our dresses.

''If a woman can't breathe in her dress, what does that mean? It's the most literal symbol of oppression that you could possibly have - it's so political.''

And Natalie ''loves'' how beauty can make her feel confident and ready to take on the day.

She added: ''I love beauty and I love glamour, and they can be part of the sweetness of life in the face of really dark things - and that has great worth.''

The 'Black Swan' actress also feels ''inspired'' by Dior's sister Catherine - who influenced for his first fragrance Miss Dior - because she represented ''enormous courage'' and was a member of the French Resistance, and then deported to a concentration camp in Germany in 1944.

Speaking in the September issue of Harper's Bazaar UK magazine, Natalie said: ''It's incredible because Catherine was someone of enormous idealism, of enormous courage, of enormous independence. So it was these inner qualities that inspired Christian Dior; and that's what I aspire to, in my own life.''