Christian Dior, Fall 2015, Ready-to-Wear, Paris, 2015
Throbbing Gristle’s “Hot on the Heels of Love,” the piece of music that soundtracked the Christian Dior show today, has a chilly, slaphappy Fifty Shades quality that seemed tailor-made for a collection whose animal essence was fulsomely described by Raf Simons as “something more liberated, darker, more sexual.” Something more than Dior’s femme fleur, in other words.
But it was also more commercial than anything Simons has offered before, in any of his guises. And saying that is no insult, because it underscores the confidence the designer has acquired in his time at Dior. He could backseat those curvaceous Bar-shaped classics in favor of man-tailored tweed pantsuits—double-breasted jackets and cropped, cuffed pants—and liquid mesh pieces that second-skinned the body. There was a nod to heritage in animal prints—Christian Dior introduced leopard print in 1947—but Simons’ homage was a blown-out reinterpretation that was so abstract as to look psychedelic…or maybe embryonic, emblematic of new life in the jacquard of a body stocking that Simons carried over from Couture.
That actually seemed like an apt metaphor for the whole collection. Simons talked about “a new kind of camouflage,” but what was it that was truly hidden here? Sex, of course. Sublimated under big, desirable tweed coats, in abbreviated coatdresses paired with thigh-high vinyl boots (go there!), in shifts collaged from fox with a tinge of unnatural nature. There was elegance and there was oddity in this collection—exactly what you’d expect from Raf Simons. But salability? Ah, yes, that was the news.