Subliminal message: Gold chairs are stacked up in the background of the Christian Dior Pre-Fall 2014 pictures. A sign as slight as this puts perspective on what we’re looking at models who seem as if they might be part of an audience of clients lingering after a show that has just broken up in Dior’s salon. In other words, this is everyday reality Dior, as opposed to the haute couture of the runway; not thinking about tripping the light fantastic (as it did for summer), but putting a solid wardrobe in place.
It depends on your reality, of course. Raf Simons is making certain that the line he directs is firmly on the ultraluxe wavelength, with more artistic attention lavished on fabrics than ever, including such technical feats as (for example), astrakhan dyed blue or green, and then further hand-painted with yellow, gray, and brown till it shimmers. Zoom in on the evening dress opposite, and you will see something else extraordinary: A rectangular appliqué of a landscape woven on a patch of jacquard like an artist’s canvas. At a distance, it’s meant to look as simple as a print on a T-shirt, but up close, the detail would be a guaranteed conversation starter at any cocktail party.
Pieter Mulier, Simons’s right-hand man at Dior, explained both the research and development lavished on the materials, and Simons’ grip on the bigger picture. The main focus is on modernizing the Christian Dior templates, working toward finding new relevance for the Bar suit and the New Look silhouettes. Mulier pointed out how “everything is less rigid, less defined, easier.”
Doing away with corset constrictions, the Bar jacket acquires curved anatomical seaming and a pair of pants in two contrasting shades of micro herringbone tweed. The swirly skirts of the New Look are cleverly adapted as a series of coats, whose lower half can be detached via a zipper on the waist so the jacket can be worn independently. That almost-utilitarian idea also surfaced as an army parka coat with an orange lining a first glimpse of the possibility of a cool New Look for the street.
In all, Dior’s existing customers should be satisfied with the reassuring level of femininity and luxe in this wide-ranging collection, which will be distributed in even more variations all over the globe. What’s more interesting to see, though, is the thought Simons is putting into opening up the Dior parameters so that the “existing” might soon be joined by the “new.”
Selections by ANDREA JANKE Finest Accessories
Photo Credit/Source: The House of DIOR
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'When Raf Simons arrived at Christian Dior nearly two years ago, he had to personally meet every single member of the ateliers who painstakingly labor to create things of such lyrical beauty that oftentimes it barely looks like a human hand has ever touched them. Flash ahead to this week, and Simons used his exquisite spring 2014 couture to honor all that les petites mains do at Dior.'