Spring-Summer 2013The Inspiration
In his debut prêt-a-porter collection for the house of Christian Dior, its Creative Director, Raf Simons, explores themes of liberation both historical to the house and personal to himself.
Christian Dior established his house in 1947 and went against the orthodoxy prevalent during the war of a certain, simplified, masculine style. “He embraced the feminine, the complex and the emotional; an idea of freedom from what had gone before,” says Raf Simons. “There was an idea of restriction and then a psychological freeing up; the foundation of the house is a reaction to restrictions. I wanted to do that too.”
Here there is a concentration on breaking through the notion of “anti-sex” attached to the restriction of minimalism and an embracing of the sexual, emotional, sensual and feminine in the collection. The embracing of the feminine body in the silhouettes together with movement, lightness, transparency and playfulness are key to the prêt-a-porter.
There is a particular focus on the structured silhouette of the ‘Bar’ jacket, with its historical connotations for the house, together with its hyper-feminine take on tailoring. The ‘Bar’ goes through many permutations, as do the ‘Ligne A’ and ‘Ligne H’ jackets in the collection; pleats are inserted architecturally, godets flare and give freedom of movement, embroidery and applique appear in bursts. But perhaps what is most significant is the transformation
of the jacket into a mini dress. This new jacket-dress, together with the recurring ‘mini’ silhouette are key motifs in the collection. This motif of sexual freedom could be seen as a nod to the line’s introduction in the sixties and merges into the more liberated silhouettes of the other dresses, such as the mini, crushed ball gowns worn casually with shorts, or the play of transparency and solid in the ‘Ligne A’ dresses.
It is this looking back to go forward, of daring to disrupt the purity of shape and conventions that is at the heart of the house of Christian Dior. And above all, it is about the acknowledgement of the human and emotional element of fashion. As the rainbow of gauze curtains disrupts the ‘white box’ of the show venue, this contemporary salon setting in turn disrupts the notion of distance in high fashion from the human and intimate. “I am a fan of minimalism,” says Raf Simons. “It is a conceptual approach I like, but it is not the only one I like. Neither is it only one type of woman that I want to appeal to.”