Christian Dior Paris Fashion Week 2014


Some of the themes that Raf Simons has been busy exploring these past few years have been the notions of women and power, negotiating femininity in a masculine world, and gender and the domestic environment. That’s all pretty theoretical-sounding, heavy even, things that one might think would be better suited to a doctorate than to a runway show. Of course, as Simons has ably shown, pondering those concepts has led him to create some absolutely dazzling fashion, and none more so than with his phenomenal fall 2014 prêt-à-porter collection for Dior; a collection that not only felt very much about the house and its legacy, but which coursed with Simons’s own aesthetic (and yes, cultural) preoccupations, perhaps greater than any he has done for the house thus far. A quick glance at the show notes for the collection reveals that Simons was thinking about the city as something both real and romantic, and also, he said, “I wanted to present women with freedom and possibilities in the way they dress, too.”

Mission accomplished, then. Simons’s fall placed an emphasis on the classic Bar jacket, that nipped-waisted, rounded-hipped jacket from Monsieur Christian Dior’s 1947 New Look. Well, consider this the New New Look: Molded coats, some double-breasted, others with their hourglass silhouette amplified through the use of laced corset-like sides, a motif also used for dresses sculpted along the same lines (take a look at the knockout trio in dark navy, gray, and khaki, which appeared toward the end of the show). Under those coats might sit more double-breasted jackets and short fluid dresses, or those killer lean pants Simons has been doing since his very first Dior collection.

His sinuous, curvaceous line also marked out his many, many excellent dresses, from some that were bi-layered, a shorter, often quilted, body-hugging dress under another that was longer and asymmetrically hemmed, with yet more of that lacing, or with a few strategically placed jewels glinting at the hip, securing a slashed side. And Simons’s idea of how to unencumber women within the constraints of the classic Dior signature were particularly apparent in a couple gray pinstriped jackets, the peplums stripped of their padding and reduced to simple flattened panels that suggested the same silhouette but in a much more relaxed way. The same trick worked with the flattened ruffle-hemmed scarves that were tossed over the jackets, not only easing up the tension of the lines, but neatly referencing how women might actually want to wear those tailored pieces in reality. And there was humor at work here, too: the notions of executive dress, coats neatly folded over the arms, ready for business, though here they came in mink in searing shades of canary yellow or emerald, just two of the intense hues he worked into his brilliant (in every sense of the word) color palette, which made the recurring grays and navys sing out when they met dusky pink, scarlet, and cobalt.

Source : VOGUE