Tuesday 15 January 2013

Super-elegant Asymmetric Drapery by DIOR Pre-Fall 2013


It’s all very well to talk about heritage and DNA the usual fashion jargon that is piously bandied about when a new designer steps into an old house. Academic and marketing brand-speak will only get a company bent on renovation so far, though: As all women know, the only litmus test is whether a designer can generate the unfakeable, visceral electricity of desire through his or her clothes. Can Raf Simons do this for Christian Dior? Can he break down the wasp-waisted, padded-hip Bar jacket, and convert it into a piece anyone cool would genuinely want to wear on a daily basis? More vitally, is he up to tackling the precious ivory-tower ladylikeness of Christian Dior without wrecking its magic? Is this man standing on that threshold jingling the keys that might open a side door for a new generation? 

Well, yes, if the evidence of pre-fall a place where hifalutin couture ideas usually bite the dust in favor of the safe commercial repeat can be factored in. There was a distinct sense of change in the Dior Paris showroom this week: a feeling of a calm intelligence at work in understandable silhouettes women just might be able to throw on daily. Of course, Christian Dior is associated with feminine, pretty cocktail and event dressing, but Simons, ever the Belgian pragmatist, doesn’t see why it shouldn’t also have an answer for daylight hours too. When he stepped into Dior, he pledged that he wanted to make the house jacket identifiable on any street, and this collection shows him beginning to deliver on that promise.

The Bar jacket that feminized piece of fifties wasp-waisted tailoring is relaxed here, with less padding in the hips of a tuxedo pant suit. What’s even more surprising is that it also comes up in denim, previously a no-go area vis-à-vis that delicate matter of insider “taste.” Yet here it is, and done with thorough conviction: denim, dyed from Dior flannel-gray to dark indigo, cut into five styles of jean (skinny to coolly mannish) and tailored into waist-accentuating jackets and coats.

The extent of change is also detectable in the attention to how things might realistically be worn by a modern woman. Simons has figured out a silhouette with a soft center (a charmeuse camisole, loosely bloused into a waistband) that gives a new sense of relaxed articulation to Dior suits in cross-hatched dogtooth tweed (or anything else, come to that). And when it comes to evening? Well, there’s more newness, filtered down from his initial haute couture and ready-to-wear shows: super-elegant assymmetric draped “belts” over trousers, duchesse satin ball skirts to wear with plain cashmere T-shirts and ingeniously wrapped tuxedo coatdresses with velvet collars. Possibly the impact of this transition to a youthful sophistication will take a while to hit the consciousness of a new generation. But without a doubt, the beginnings are already there.

Selections by ANDREA JANKE Finest Accessories

Photo Credit/Source: VOGUE
Photography: Courtesy of Christian Dior

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