Yesterday, Raf Simons unveiled his first haute couture collection for Christian Dior in Paris, much to the excitement of fashion heavyweights across the globe, who turned out in force to support the Belgian designer following his success at Jil Sander.
Simons’ past success fuelled the general expectation that his debut collection for Dior would be special – surely his use of modern silhouettes and simplicity would work well in juxtaposition with the ever-present drama of Dior? It seemed so. Simons created a collection of timeless beauty; black tuxedo suits that, thanks to the impeccable cut, curved with the body, and diaphanous prom-style dresses both contributed to a classic collection. However, it was the attention to detail that brought the Simons magic to Dior yesterday. A sugary, almond pink prom dress that harked back to the Dior New Look era was brought into the 21st century with oversize pockets and origami-style folds, while a simple grey dress (very Simons – clean cut, elegant, contemporary) was made “Dior” with a tulip skirt. Tunics with curvaceous peplums (which, according to Tim Blanks, were based on Dior’s iconic Bar jacket) were worn over slim leg, flood length trousers, while a citron, floor length evening skirt teamed with a sheer upper instantly made an obviously classic piece modern. Simple courts and pretty peep-toes in a palette of black, mink, hot pink and kingfisher blue were among the few accessories needed to finish off each look, complemented by simple hair and a bright lip.
Looking through the collection online, there were over fifty different looks and I couldn’t help but wonder if perhaps Simons should have created half as many; there were around 15 pieces that I thought were outstanding, while the rest felt like collection “fillers”. Had there had been 20-25 looks, the collection might have left an even more powerful impression on me. Don’t get me wrong, Raf Simons has, as expected, created a brilliant couture collection for Christian Dior – I just think that had there been only the real star pieces, I probably would have leapt out of my chair and lifted my laptop high above my head in a fashion equivalent of Rocky Balboa reaching the top of the steps. That said, I think the Simons/Dior collaboration marks the beginning of a new fashion era, where the past meets the present – and the present is very much the future.
Raf Simons for Christian Dior. Haute Couture AW12.