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Believe in the hype. Raf Simons’s first RTW collection for the heaven house of Dior met everybody’s expectations, which even for a designer as adored as he, is no small feat. There was a lot of love in the room/ man-made white box branded ‘Dior’, where every seat was named and curtains in pink, green and blue hung prettily off the bright white walls. The running order of the looks alone was genius. The show said “hello” with straight black tuxedo suits accessorised with huge red and pink scarves tied around the neck like 50s starlets in 50s convertibles. Then the show flirted, with iridescent, candy coloured organza mini dresses, so short they were styled with black woollen shorts keeping dignity underneath. The flirtation intensified with striped silk dresses in delicious metallic pinks and oranges, so pretty they must have been a dream. Then mini pleated dresses, then big panel pleated dresses in bright red against hot pink and pale pink against canary yellow. It was just so considered. Every look had a correlating shoe strap and colour-matched crystal eyeshadow and the show notes detailed all 53 looks so you could learn about what you were looking at, that is if you could prize your eyes away. Then came a brand new idea: suit jackets – the piece people popularly use to make a point about androgyny – transformed here into ultra feminine dresses sculpted in that “me? i’m-all-woman”, 50s Dior silhouette. The final looks, as if blowing a kiss to old Dior, were full-blown New Looks, taking the classic Christian Dior bell-shaped skirts and delivering them in more dreamy iridescent organza. The resonating quote from the note was Raf talking about Christian Dior: “He embraced the feminine, the complex and the emotional; an idea of freedom from what had gone before… There was an idea of restriction and then a psychological freeing up; the foundation of the house is a reaction to restrictions. I wanted to do that too.” Well he can sleep easy. Raf achieved freedom, femininity, complexity and emotion and if you think about all of those words carefully, they aren’t ‘fashion’ words, and a designer who can achieve those things in a collection of clothes, is a very special person indeed. Lucky, lucky Dior.
Text: Sarah Raphael
Photography: Mitchell Sams
See all of our SS13 womenswear coverage here.