With the Manhattan skyline, the East River and the boats that cross it as a backdrop, Brooklyn was the setting yesterday for Raf Simon's cruise 2015 fashion show for the house of Dior.
It took little more than a few minutes to cross the East River by boat to arrive at the docks and the show location, a mini cruise on which Manhattan and its skyscraper skyline shrank as one passed under the Williamsburg Bridge, while the distant outline of the Statue of Liberty could be spied between the pillars of the Brooklyn Bridge. A little water crossing, appropriate given that it was its Cruise collection that the house of Dior was showing, but also a water crossing as a preface, since it was very definitely a voyage that the collection was proposing, a long-haul journey between Paris and New York, between the chic and placid calm of Avenue Montaigne and the stimulating buzzy energy of the Big Apple. Not a one-way but a return trip, with the double reference evident throughout the collection, and it was a subtle and abstract view of the association of these two cities in two countries that Raf Simons offered here, like a transatlantic bridge between the two cultures.
“America is a constant inspiration for me, ” says Raf Simons. “The pop culture, the energy, the fluidity... there is just something so alive here. What I always like in America is that there is such a melting pot of styles. But there is always a look – a strong look. Whether it is uptown or downtown, East or West coast, there is always a strength and reality to how women dress here. "
It was from this strength that Raf Simons drew the attitude of the looks in his show. There's a sleeveless coat, very architectural in double-face cashmere, under which a silk top boasts a contrasting airy fluidity. There are scarf dresses in stretch organza with a drape nonchalantly knotted at the bust. And then there are those tweed jackets or peacoats that end high up on the thigh with a fringe of frayed wool.
The Bar jacket, so emblematic of the house of Dior since the very first collection in 1947, with its nipped waist and pronounced hips, here takes on a new allure thanks to the horizontal buttoning which accentuates the sharpness of its waist even more. Or in a bustier version, like a corset, given a twist with a fluid silk lapel.
Scarves are everywhere throughout the collection. Sometimes they're classic silk squares that seem placed on their own on the body and layered to form dresses. Or maybe as fluid tops, both geometric in their structure and soft in their hand-painted prints. Here and there one can discern the stripes that make up the United States flag, reinterpreted in other colors.
Paris – New York in sixty-six looks, like a résumé of the five days it took stylish women to make the crossing between the two cities on the transatlantic liners in Monsieur Dior's day.
View all of the silhouettes on Dior.com