A new era has dawned at Christian Dior where new creative director Raf Simons has injected his signature modernity and sharpness into a house known for romanticism and femininity. The future of fashion?
Even before a single look had appeared on the catwalk, the most elite echelons of the fashion industry gave their approval of the choice of Raf Simons as the new creative director of Christian Dior simply by their presence in the front row. In an unprecedented show of support, the couture salons that were decorated with walls lined thick with flowers from floor to ceiling (over a million blooms according to Dior) were filled with fellow fashion designers – Azzedine Alaia, Marc Jacobs, Donatella Versace, Alber Elbaz, Riccardo Tisci, Olivier Theyskens, Diane von Furstenberg and Pierre Cardin all turned out for the Belgian designer’s first collection for Dior and his first ever couture collection. With his signature minimalism, genius cuts and bold use of colour, Simons is the fashion designer’s fashion designer.
"I didn't want to rush,” said Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH, of his search to find a creative director for Dior that lasted just over a year. “It was really a question of choosing the best person for the job, and he stood head and shoulders above the rest: the greatest talent of the moment for Dior, the greatest house in the world."
But how would Simons’ modernity translate to a Paris house whose codes are of romanticism and femininity? Versace wondered the same: "Before the show, I found it difficult to imagine what Raf would do at Dior,” she said. “But from the very first look today it made total sense."
The first look that set the tone was a Simons reinterpretation of the Bar jacket first created in 1947 by Christian Dior as part of his New Look collection. Part of a tuxedo suit, it was cinched at the waist and easy to wear at any age. Later ensembles were noticeably younger, including the “cut-off ballgowns” with exquisite embroidery that were worn – as with many of the looks – over laser-cut cigarette pants.
Simons’ vision could be seen in the modern lines, the shocking bights and painting-like prints that revealed his keen interest in art. Yet as fresh and contemporary as Simons’ first ever couture effort was, this was a collection that paid the utmost respect to the history of Dior. Simons had pushed the Dior ateliers as hard as ever to produce exquisite embroidery; there were pretty pastels, floral prints and tweeds; ball gowns burst with organza and chiffon and stopped just above the ankle; the New Look was everywhere only newer.
"[It was] absolutely poetic. It was perfection. Today was a beautiful marriage between a designer and a house," said creative director of Lanvin, Alber Elbaz, of the seemingly perfect balance of tradition and modernity. "Absolutely magnificent,” commented Marc Jacobs. “Very Dior”, added Diane von Furstenberg. Pierre Cardin thought it “was very emotional.” But perhaps the creative director at Givenhy, Riccardo Tisci, summed it up best. “Very Raf,” he said of the collection. “The future of fashion.”
"I didn't want to rush. It was really a question of choosing the best person for the job, and he stood head and shoulders above the rest: the greatest talent of the moment for Dior, the greatest house in the world."
- Bernard Arnault, LVMH chairman, on his year-long search to find a creative director for Dior.
- Marc Jacobs
"Very Raf… the future of fashion.”
- Riccardo Tisci
"Before the show, I found it difficult to imagine what Raf would do at Dior. But from the very first look today it made total sense."
- Donatella Versace
"Raf Simons did a SUPERB Dior show! Very DIOR! Another talented Belgian!”
- Diane von Furstenberg
"[It was] absolutely poetic. It was perfection. Today was a beautiful marriage between a designer and a house."
- Alber Elbaz
- Pierre Cardin