Tag Archives: Christian Dior

Fall 2015, Ready-to-Wear: Christian Dior



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.

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Resort 2014: Christian Dior

Christan Dior Resort 2014 Raf SimonsChristan Dior Resort 2014 Raf Simons

Raf Simons for Christian Dior, Resort 2014, Paris

A dynamic forward movement for Dior. First and foremost, Simons was challenging himself, the way Miuccia Prada does with things she feels she has no natural instinct for. Lace, for instance, has never been part of Raf’s lingo. He didn’t want the history or the romance of the stuff, so he juxtaposed it against urgent striations of color in a dress that felt like gravity was dragging it sideways. He laid lace over a bandeau top and metallic tap shorts for a carelessly sporty effect, and he streaked lace dresses with fractured, angular graphics. But if there have been times in the past when Simons seemed like an arch iconoclast, what is increasingly coming through in his work with Dior is his ultimate respect for tradition. Why else would he try so hard to make it relevant for the new clientele that is being drawn to his clothes? So here there was a gorgeous cropped blouson with an abbreviated kimono sleeve, couture and casual in one compact package. As well as a floaty, peachy sundress in a satiny twill that wouldn’t have gone amiss on Grace Kelly, but Simons bifurcated it with a zip. “A symbol of sport and dynamism,” he said.

He’s always eulogized the movement of Christian Dior’s dresses, but here, at last, he acknowledged the restriction of those original looks, so there were zips everywhere. And aerodynamism. And asymmetry. One message came through loud and clear: release yourself. That timeless incentive amplified the notion that Raf Simons is about to take Dior on a long and glorious ride. Tim Blanks for Style.com


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Christian Dior, Spring Summer 2013

Christian Dior, Spring Summer 2013Christian Dior, Spring Summer 2013

Raf Simons for Christian Dior, Spring Summer 2013, Paris, 28 September 2012

The Schubert piece that was playing as invitees entered the huge, purpose-built salons where Raf Simons showed his first ready-to-wear collection for Dior today was familiar, especially to fans of The Hunger, David Bowie’s 1983 vampire movie. Simons is an ardent Bowie-phile, and the very individual choice of music was the first sign that the designer was about to impress his personality on the massive edifice that is Dior. Where Galliano achieved the same thing by amping up the house till it matched his own delirious, romantic, saturatingly sensual historicism, Simons took a long, cool look at the heritage and found the strictness, the rigor, and a different kind of sensuality. His soundtrack spoke volumes: Detroit DJ legend Carl Craig, who took over from Schubert after the show started, delivers techno with warmth. Another telling detail: At July’s Couture outing, the salons were color-coded with Galliano-esque walls of lush flowers; today, the same color-coding was achieved with minimal, diaphanous curtaining. Rococo to Bauhaus—that evolution speaks another volume or two.

According to the show notes—and Raf’s own words—the key descriptor for this new era at Dior is “freedom.” But freedom from all restraint ultimately leads to the excess of self-destruction. What we saw today, by contrast, suggested an appreciation of the power of limits. How much more inspiring is discipline than free rein. That much was already clear, by the way, in the dress rehearsal that was Simons’ Couture show in July.

Its achievements were revisited here, starting with the cheeky Le Smoking passage that launched proceedings in both instances. It’s been impossible to ignore the media-fanned flames of the Raf-Hedi face-off that this week has generated. Simons managed to make his tux jacket-dress both a riposte to the YSL rivalry and a manifesto for himself. He de-stuffed Dior’s classic Bar hourglass silhouette by turning it into something for morning, noon, and night, worn with shorts, a skirt, or nothing. Simons is clearly going to be good at the de-stuffing thing. In his ready-to-wear, as in his couture, he carved off the big below-the-waist bit of a gala gown, leaving just the visual interest of its top half. Guipure lace was turned into a two-tone bustier mini. Double-facing was responsible for a spectacular set of oh-so-simple but high-impact pop shapes in bifurcated color. The collection’s most stringently disciplined statement was also one of its best looks: Kinga Rajzak’s navy and black dress in pleated tulle.

Still, Simons’ genuine, deep-seated affection for the tropes of couture is one of the qualities that has given a potent edge to all his design for the past few years. His full-skirted finale—the severe black silk-cashmere knit top, the erotic, iridescent balloon of floral-printed satin duchesse—distilled history into a special kind of twenty-first-century glamour. By Tim Blanks for Style.com

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