Earlier this afternoon, Raf Simons presented his second Ready-to-Wear collection for the house of Dior. We bring you the show and the accompanying descriptive dossier.
The persistence of memory: the thoughts, feelings and experiences that flow and inspire the creative process over the passage of time. For Autumn-Winter Raf Simons focuses on this notion of memory and how it shapes the nature of design at the house; how this works for himself and how it once worked for Christian Dior.
“This collection is more connected to passions we share,” says Raf Simons. “Like a real interest in art – Christian Dior started his career as a gallerist and represented both Dali and Giacometti early on. The connection to certain periods of time is also significant, his obsession with the Belle Époque in his case, the Mid-Century modern in mine. Here the connections made are important, the very idea of them rather than what they are made to; the attraction and obsession is the significant part.”
The collection functions in the form of a visual scrapbook, a collage of clothing containing significant moments in time both for Raf Simons and the house of Christian Dior. A Dior coat can function easily alongside a further exploration of the Bar jacket in wool denim, itself teamed with a new take on Oxford bags. Dior’s iconic houndstooth motif is explored and transposed, emerging frequently as a wool bustier. A notion of asymmetry, begun in the haute couture collection, can be seen throughout, resulting in a abundance of permutations in the silhouettes that can go from short to long in one look.
The collection is full of unexpected juxtapositions and visual non sequitur; a free association, like a personal scrapbook, both playful and profound, it embraces idiosyncrasy, culminating in what Simons refers to as “memory dresses.” Here, a typical twenties shift shape is embroidered and appliqued with motifs that point to parts of the personal history of Dior; a Surrealist style free association culminates in these clothes and is up for open interpretation. They also display the new graphic sensibility that is introduced in this collection and permeates throughout. This is most significantly displayed in the unique collaboration with The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts in the collection. The early hand drawn work from the 1950s of the artist Andy Warhol is found as a recurring motif of the mid-century style printed or embroidered on the clothing and accessories. “For me Warhol made so much sense,” says Simons of this collaboration. “I was interested in the delicacy and sensitivity in the early work he did, I was drawn to that graphic style naturally in this collection. It was that notion of hand work and personal signature that fitted throughout.”
These notions of Surrealism and Pop are brought together in the dreamscape of the show set. As a Magritte-style cloud path meanders around the gigantic mirrored spheres of the space, the mix of memory and desire in the collection is brought to dream-like culmination.