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In this Cruise Collection, Raf Simons, Artistic Director of Christian Dior, takes the idea of American style and its emblematic place in national identity, combines it with the quintessentially European sensibility of Dior, and presents a subtle, abstracted view of the two combined.
The collection’s leitmotif is the silk scarf, or the French carré. Here the scarf is transformed into ‘the flag’ of the collection; its pop iconography playfully explored, its conservative, lady-like connotations exploded, its sinuous, free-spirited sensibility embraced. The carré’s geometry is often borrowed for the construction of garments and the scarf’s hand-painted patterning for their supple decoration.
Traditional, firm couture constructions, based on those of the stock mannequin, are combined and contrasted with the silks in the collection, the rigidity of the bodices often at play with the fluidity of sleeves and skirts. Traditional Dior pleats and godets are relaxed and made flowing, their sinuous construction and bias cutting a further study of hard and soft,
a theme that runs throughout the collection including the scarf wrapped shoes and jewellery. A different kind of ‘handmade’ sensibility comes into play with the exploration of American ‘homespun’ crafts; the French atelier’s take on macramé, with its delicate, seamless formations, large patchwork furs that resemble blankets but belie their supreme compositional skill, the utilisation of supple suede both for outerwear and skirts, hand-woven skills usually employed for carpet making, radically applied to the construction of tailoring.
The Brooklyn Navy Yard, by the banks of the East River, is the setting for the show. Stood by a dynamic strip of water that flows to meet the Hudson, it is a place that presents an iconic view of Manhattan Island. The mirror and LED interior of the venue, with the reflected animations of fluid, floating scarves, at once echoes the outside world and abstracts it, just as the collection does.