On Friday, Raf Simons presented his spring-summer 2014 ready-to-wear collection for the house of Dior. A resolutely modern collection of breathtaking beauty. We take a look.
It all started with an orchestral tune-up and a drum roll. The music set the tone: the piece in question, "From the New World", the symphony by Antonín Dvořák, seems to have been drawn from some far-off modern horizon. "I don't want people to be able to know exactly where these women come from, or where they are going, but that they exist in a place in flux, where everything seems possible" , explained Raf Simons in a preamble to his collection. From the first looks to appear one could recognize Christian Dior's emblematic silhouette with its bust and shapely hips, its whittled waist, a figure-of-eight silhouette to better flatter the shape of a woman's body. But this silhouette is culled from another, new world. It's a roomy jacket that crosses over tightly under the bust as though belted by a martingale; it's a short, in culotte form over the hips, fluttering into a pleated skirt; it's an opening in the construction of a jacket for a peek of flesh at the waist; it's silk that drapes around the body, outlining the female form through its own asymmetry. Everything is conceived in order to heighten female beauty. This reinterpretation of the New Look is a play on the past and the future, a dialogue between two modernities so close in language but yet so far apart in expression, between which so many collections have come into being.
The radical retuning of the house's aesthetic encapsulated in this modernist vision gives birth to the modern Dior woman, in full paradox.
Sophisticated draping on a simple shirt dress, diagonal pleating that gives a symmetrical skirt the illusion of asymmetry, lantern dresses whose multicolored stripes of different widths create an optical illusion, pieces that look like skirts but are actually shorts, prints cut into strips whose main motif seems to appear and disappear according to the body's movements. It switches endlessly between two worlds, between reality and the imaginary, between the past and the future. Between real and unreal, even down to the set, a veritable tropical cascade alternating fabric flowers and real foliage painted fluorescent colors. A decor like none ever seen, of a jaw-dropping beauty that had the guests in raptures.
For the finale - in which the models usually do a lap of the runway wearing their last outfit - each of the girls appeared in a different look. Silks and wools in deepest black and metallic jacquard created unity. One could manage to pick out some of the reinterpretations of Christian Dior's that Raf Simons had already shown in the ready-to-wear or haute couture shows since his arrival as the house's creative director. However, it's not just the fabrics that changed. The looks themselves were reinterpreted once more, further extending the powerful dialogue that exists between the two designers.