As the designer’s program notes explained, with this collection Raf Simons wanted to explore the idea of “twisting, turning, and pushing Dior,” so that “a beautiful rose garden becomes poisonous.”
Raf Simons set his Dior show in a jungle beneath a hanging garden of thousands of lianas and orchids and wisteria that created an extraordinarily beautiful, layered setting that seemed something of a metaphor for a collection that was jungle-dense with a mash-up of ideas.
In this subversive spirit, he spliced those floral prints, punk-style, with cryptic word art. In the same mood, the show opened with the classic hourglass Dior jacket now deconstructed to wrap around the torsoits traditional mid-century pleated skirts reduced to the tropical flower print, sunray-pleated, chiffon flounces ruffling from beneath the hem of trim little fitted shorts. More successful were the pleats used on the bias for a slithery little black dress or for asymmetrical skirts with a surprising cut-out reveal on one hip. There was more bodily revelation when Raf gave a pinstripe cotton shirtdress the cold shoulder treatment, for instance, anchoring its bodice at the collar but cutting away those shoulders and back for a sense of sly modern allure. Filmy knits and translucent organzas in Raf’s quirky color palette (vivid orange with soft mauve; grass green with blush pink) revealed the body beneath, whilst an overlay of black car-wash panels flashed the vivid print of the underdresses as the girls moved. Accessories were strong asymmetrical, dense clusters of dripping jewels that tumbled from neck and wrists like those exotic vines hanging above, and shoes with ovoid cut-outs in contrast colors that suggested the ergonomic design of a Formula 1 racer’s helmet.
For the finale, Raf’s cabine marched back into the jungle paradise wearing an entirely new collection. Less fanciful and more pragmatic than the complicated pieces that preceded them, this palette cleanser focused on the classic Dior icon shapes whose influence has touched so many international runways this season the evening dress with the little bodice and the blossoming ballet-length skirt; the narrow, pencil-skirted sheath dress, and the sleek-leg pantsuits with the curvy jackets that mixed solid black with silvery brocades woven with different flowers. The looks were often flourished with an armorial, shield-shaped emblem comprised of glittering jewels that picked up Christian Dior’s iconic houndstooth check; a new badge of pride for fashion’s futurists.
Selections by ANDREA JANKE Finest Accessories
Photo Credit/Source: The House of DIOR
Finale by The House of DIOR
Runway: Photography by Yannis Vlamos | InDigitalimages
Candids/Backstage: Photography by Kevin Tachman
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“I wanted to do something with lace for a long time, but to twist it, create something more edgy, so it almost becomes futuristic,” said Simons at the show venue, a purpose-built minimalist structure perched over an unusually raging sea, the result of an unseasonable downpour.