One of the most highly anticipated shows of the couture season was Raf Simon’s debut collection for the House of Dior. Bernard Arnault of LVMH explains to Bridget Foley of WWD their decision to appoint Raf Simons. “It was really a question of choosing the best person for the job, and Raf stood head and shoulders above the rest: the greatest talent of the moment for Dior, the greatest house in the world.”
With an audience full of celebrities, royals and fashion designers like Azzedine Alaïa, Marc Jacobs, Donatella Versace, Riccardo Tisci, Olivier Theyskens, Diane von Furstenberg, Pierre Cardin, Jean-Louis Scherrer, as well as Alber Elbaz, the audience waited with bated breath to see the Dior couture collection described by many as perfection. Marc Jacobs proclaimed it “absolutely magnificent” and Ricardo Tisci said it was “the future of fashion.”
The show made fashion history with just 54 looks and such attention to detail that even the set of the show had Christian Dior’s imprint, floor-to-ceiling flowers decorating each room in honor of Dior’s early couture presentations. Simons did not disregard Dior’s past, however he breathed new life into the design aesthetic renovating the hourglass shaped silhouettes and wasp waisted dresses with full skirts using a palette of gray tweeds, delicate embroidery and abstract florals. “The show was about beauty in a natural way. It was very freeing; it offered a lot of possibilities. That’s why I didn’t want it story-based. Think of it as a blueprint.” Said Simons.
After immersing himself in the Christian Dior archives Simons found a way to incorporate the history and utilize components by meeting them in the middle to create a youthful, modern collection.
Simons started with a couple of bustier mini party dresses referred to as cut-off ball gowns where skirts or bottom halves were replaced by cigarette pants. Simons played with volume and proportion, creating bustiers, mid-calf length skirts and strapless gowns in light-as-air pastels.
He finished with bi-polar dresses beaded in a traditional floral designs in the front and abstract graphic florals on the back to create a “Contemporary New Look.” The pieces are a fresh combination of evening wear and daywear for the haute couture set accessorized with statement chokers, banded metal belts, and neon make-up.
In less than three months on the job, Raf Simons has managed to create an utterly modern collection that gives us a glimpse into the future of Christian Dior.