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City lights: a new vision of the urban experience, a place of power and possibility for women. This season, Raf Simons, Artistic Director of Christian Dior, celebrates the strength and power of the city silhouette together with the women who wear it. Here, unafraid to combine femininity with masculinity, the traditions of men’s tailoring with the Dior vision of the ‘femme fleur,’ Simons presents a synthesis of the real and imagined: an abstracted cityscape with a new breed of female worker that plays the presiding role within it.
“This season I wanted to propose a new woman,” says Raf Simons. “A woman with power and energy in a very definite way. I wanted to pursue powerful tailoring, to offer another reality, another function. This season is less about the leisure of the garden and more about the pace of the city. I am attracted to the reality of the urban world and environment, not just to the leisured world of ‘the moment’ – that world of the event or the party. This Dior woman inhabits both.”
This season the Dior garden is abstracted, its bold colours transposed to the silhouettes of city workers, its forms echoed in traditional masculine fabrics. The seductive femme fleur is still there, but emboldened by her business suits, made more sensual by masculine tailoring. Peak lapels, double breasting and horn buttons take the place of more traditional elements of the feminine tailleur.
While the flou utilises men’s shirting for dresses, nylon for a new form of canage quilting constructed into gowns, with fluid, double-faced cashmere for cocktail attire. The graphic motifs of the cityscape abound: training shoes are transformed into a new take on the stiletto heel, their lacing transferred to become corseting for overcoats; the architectural, art deco motif of Atlas, to be found in the jewellery and on quilting, is here bowed in his submission to this new woman. Looks are layered and carefully constructed: a synthesis of feminine and masculine, the past and the present Dior, a slicing through history and a splicing of the genetic codes of clothing.
Meanwhile the futuristic pleasure garden of last season is replaced by the white, luminescent space of this: an abstracted, electric flowering from the ceiling, echoing the shimmering, distant lights of a city.
“I wanted to approach the idea of the city as an abstraction, it is how I perceive the world of the city in this collection,” says Raf Simons. “It is an idea of the romantic and the real, a world of possibilities. At the same time I wanted to present women with freedom and possibilities in the way they dress too.”