PARIS, France — Christian Dior's Raf Simons broke through the venerable walls of Avenue Montaigne to send off the Parisian fashion house's couture on an exciting journey across the four corners of the globe. From the purity of Asia to the bold Americas to the bright stripes and patterns of Africa's Masai, this show had it all.
Images projected on the make-shift show walls inside Paris' Invalides visually summed up the message of the show: A carpeted salon of Dior's Right Bank headquarters fused into scenes of exotic red flowers and beautiful images of black and Asian models. In other words, with one full year as creative director under his belt, Simons has found the confidence to go beyond the weighty heritage of the 70-year-old house codes and explore his own outward visions.
"This collection evolved to be about Dior not just being about Paris and France, but about the rest of the world and how many fashion cultures impact on the house and on myself," said Simons.
While the iconic bar jacket popped up in one belted gray wool outfit, its several peplum flaps mirrored the layers of a Japanese kimono. Elsewhere, looks fully embracing the East were pulled off with panache, such as one off-white silk coat with stiff upturned collar, long front flaps and an incredible jutting back piece. All the looks were supremely feminine.
But while all of the globe-trotting turned this show into one of Simons' most creative, the 53 looks were so diverse that it also was his hardest to make sense of.
The brightly-colored Masai looks, for example, were sometimes so bright they jarred, such as one black shiny column dress with vivid blue and red horizontal stripes and tribal neck band.
Still, there were plenty of great new explorations. Simons further elaborated his idea of the truncated and sectioned-off silhouette — something that featured last season. That spawned one of the best looks in the show, a bright red pleated silk bustier dress, which had two identical skirts, one above and one below.
Next season, a more focused vision might help sharpen these great fashion ideas.
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