The scenography of the fall-winter 2013-2014 haute couture collection by Raf Simons for Dior took the show toward another horizon, between art performance and freedom of expression.
Upon entering the room, the guests had already forgotten that the fashion show was taking place in front of the majestic Hôtel des Invalides. Instead, they felt as though they'd crossed the Seine and found themselves at number 30, Avenue Montaigne, in the house of Dior's couture salons. On the four walls of the cube inside which they sat were projected images from the historic salons where fashion shows have taken place since the time of Monsieur Dior. It was all there: the Trianon gray carpet, the medallion-back chairs, the carved woodwork and the moldings. Then, the grayed images of the salons segued progressively into photographs of tapestries of flowers - orange, fuchsia, pale pink, or white and blue stripes. Each wall-as-screen was given over to a different color and different flowers, just as at Raf Simons' very first couture show for Dior, exactly a year ago. As the models came out, the walls came to life with giant projections of photographs. Shot backstage, before the looks took to the runway, they were of the same models wearing the same looks. They were also the work of Patrick Demarchelier, Terry Richardson, Paolo Roversi and Willy Vanderperre: four legendary photographers, four artists asked by Raf Simons to convey their own vision of his couture, their idea of his women in Dior. And so Patrick Demarchelier gave his elegant and delicate interpretation of the looks evoking Europe, Paolo Roversi poetically captured the looks inspired by Asia, Willy Vanderperre's dreamlike aesthetic represented the Americas, and Terry Richardson's wit energized the looks symbolizing Africa. Fashion plates and masterly visions.
On the runway, the models walked before their own images, providing depth to the dialogue between the presentation of the collection and its representation, between the universal and the personal. Contained within all that is the new dimension that Raf Simons sought to bring to the Dior couture.