Dior: Couture Paris 2015
French haute couture is no walk in the garden. But Raf Simons began his career with one - blanketing a series of rooms with millions of blossoms as backdrop to his Dior haute couture debut two years ago.
Oops, he did it again. Today, for his autumn/winter 2014 Dior haute couture show, a circular tent pitched at the bottom of the Musee Rodin gardens was pock-marked with holes to support another few hundred thousand white orchids. They were beautiful, yes, but there was also something clean, mean and modern about them.
Modernity, it turned out, was what Simons was obsessing over. “What is modern?” he asked himself - he even put it on the press-notes, as if quizzing his audience too for their answers. Simons’ conclusion was that the past is modern - and right he is. Monsieur Dior himself used the past to invent a look the world called “new”. Simons decided to do the same.
Here’s the meat and potatoes (if such things exist in haute couture): there were eight sections, sweeping through the eighteenth century, belle époque right through to the fifties, with a stop at twenties Flappers for good measure. Last winter, Simons took us on a trip around the world; this season he accomplished what Cher couldn’t and turned back time.
What he came back with, from his time-travelling trip, was a collection of historical silhouettes - panniered ball gowns, embroidered courtly juste-au-corps, filmy chiffon dresses, Directoire redingotes - injected with a sense of vibrant modernity. There was tailoring with blown-up details, giving the impression of wasted waists through exaggerated collars, robes a la Francaise fit for the Duchesse de Polignac, trapunto-stitched skirts and bodices as filmy and seductive as turn-of-the-century lingerie.
In other words, there was a lot. A lot to look at, a lot to love, a lot to wear.
By Alexander Fury
Alexander Fury is Fashion Editor of The Independent