PARIS, France — The walls of the Dior salons where today’s show took place were deliberately unfinished, undercoated like a job half done. You want a metaphor — you got it. Lucie Meier and Serge Ruffieux’s tenure as placeholders before an announcement is made about Raf Simons’ replacement as creative director is about to end. They have kept the fire burning at half-flame, which is why you could say that the collection they showed today was demi-couture, rather than full knock-down-drag-out haute-ness. It will be up to the new guy (or gal) to apply the top coat to those walls. But Meier and Ruffieux did themselves proud at the final curtain.
Dior himself revered Cristobal Balenciaga and there was something Spanish about this offering: the full skirts, the flat sandals, the starkness of the black and white palette had a Basque peasant flavour. Over all was the signature Bar silhouette, the jacket with hips flaring a little more softly and generously than usual. The detail was gold, in the trim on an ivory silk chiffon skirt, in the streaming lozenges of embroidery on Julia Nobis’s organza t-shirt. It was folk-ish, artisanal. Like the rest of the collection. If Dior is classed as the apogee of Parisian sophistication, this particular offering was a more obtuse take on the legacy of the house. But in its easy appeal, it felt like a kind of ground zero. Just as the show itself was taken back to HQ on Avenue Montaigne, the clothes were a charming blank slate. Bringing it all back home. Ready for the next chapter.