The Manhattan skyline was the backdrop for the presentation of Raf Simons’ Cruise 2015 collection for the House of Dior ...
Discover the DIOR Cruise 2015 fashion show at the end of this post and more DIOR ...“America is a constant inspiration for me, ” says Raf Simons. “The pop culture, the energy, the fluidity... there is just something so alive here. What I always like in America is that there is such a melting pot of styles. But there is always a look – a strong look. Whether it is uptown or downtown, East or West coast, there is always a strength and reality to how women dress here. "
It took little more than a few minutes to cross the East River by boat to arrive at the docks and the show location, a mini cruise on which Manhattan and its skyscraper skyline shrank as one passed under the Williamsburg Bridge, while the distant outline of the Statue of Liberty could be spied between the pillars of the Brooklyn Bridge. A little water crossing, appropriate given that it was its Cruise collection that the house of Dior was showing, but also a water crossing as a preface, since it was very definitely a voyage that the collection was proposing, a long-haul journey between Paris and New York, between the chic and placid calm of Avenue Montaigne and the stimulating buzzy energy of the Big Apple. Not a one-way but a return trip, with the double reference evident throughout the collection, and it was a subtle and abstract view of the association of these two cities in two countries that Raf Simons offered here, like a transatlantic bridge between the two cultures.
It was from this strength that Raf Simons drew the attitude of the looks in his show. There's a sleeveless coat, very architectural in double-face cashmere, under which a silk top boasts a contrasting airy fluidity. There are scarf dresses in stretch organza with a drape nonchalantly knotted at the bust. And then there are those tweed jackets or peacoats that end high up on the thigh with a fringe of frayed wool.
The Bar jacket, so emblematic of the house of Dior since the very first collection in 1947, with its nipped waist and pronounced hips, here takes on a new allure thanks to the horizontal buttoning which accentuates the sharpness of its waist even more. Or in a bustier version, like a corset, given a twist with a fluid silk lapel.
Scarves are everywhere throughout the collection. Sometimes they're classic silk squares that seem placed on their own on the body and layered to form dresses. Or maybe as fluid tops, both geometric in their structure and soft in their hand-painted prints. Here and there one can discern the stripes that make up the United States flag, reinterpreted in other colors. Paris – New York in sixty-six looks, like a résumé of the five days it took stylish women to make the crossing between the two cities on the transatlantic liners in Monsieur Dior's day.
As to why Dior had come all the way from Paris to show its resort collection, well, Simons had America on his mind, he had said at a preview at Dior’s U.S. HQ on Fifty-seventh Street Tuesday afternoon; he was thinking about its bigness, its coastal cultural differences, its role in shaping modernism as we see it.
Whatever, as is Simons’s wont, that American theme wasn’t worked in any way that was obvious. His gift, increasingly evident with his stewardship of the house, is his ability to take his cerebral impulses notions of empowerment, femininity, and emancipation and translate them in Dior’s codes in ways original and straightforwardly desirable. You certainly don’t need to know any of the backstory to appreciate what was on offer here. The series of speedy-sharp nipped-waist jackets, graphic tops, and lean pants in black layered with painterly florals that opened the show, an exercise in the kind of resolutely face-forward urban dressing Simons does so well. The sublime skinny-strapped short dresses constructed out of squares of embroidered organza in shades of orange, khaki, and yellow. Or the likes of two exquisite, couture-worthy evening looks in black-and-white hand-woven raffia. (Simons had said at that preview that it took eight people, at least, to make them.)
One other idea that had fluttered around in his mind: the house of Dior’s carrés, its tradition of pretty floral silk scarves. That might have led Simons to also think about flags and the way they fly from so many buildings stateside. What that, in turn, became was a way for the designer to consider all the possible directions he could take Dior’s trademark hourglass silhouette, defined by the New Look Bar jacket, and soften and lighten it, stripping the jacket’s peplum of its stiffness, having it collapse into a handkerchief hem, or stitching two silken floral squares together into an asymmetric skirt shape. The scarves even turned up wrapping the feet as sandals, grounded by athletic tread soles. Of course, sneakers have been on the Dior runways quite a bit recently, but given his American theme, perhaps Simons was paying homage in his own way to famed NYC ferrygoer Tess McGill. Or perhaps not. Regardless, like so much else here, they were nimble-footed and looked great.
Selections by ANDREA JANKE Finest Accessories
Photo Credits/Source: The House of DIOR
More To Love ...
Discover the new DIOR Addict Fluid Stick, the latest from DIOR beauty and the first 'ONE-COAT DO-IT-ALL' hybrid lip fluid. Dior has created Dior Addict Fluid Stick, a pure object of desire, with an ingenious design for all those who know how to cultivate the art of surprise.