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Paris Fashion Week Coverage: Dior Spring 2013 Couture

Raf Simons is now one of the few elite members of the couture club, with his second couture collection for Christian Dior debuting at this week’s Spring 2013 showing. After his phenomenal debut for the brand in the fall, all eyes were on the reimagined garden landscape he invented inside the Tuileries and what glorious creations would emerge from the set’s trimmed hedges. Simons, choosing to literally interpret the season’s flourishing blossoms for the runway, presented a fresh, simple, and radiant collection that strengthened his hold over Dior’s future in fashion.

Dior codes were present in the voluminous, sleeveless ball gowns that were nipped in at the waist to create an hourglass silhouette, and in the lean cuts of the updated Bar jackets and cigarette pants he showed tuxedo style. His inviting palette mixed clashing colors with brilliant blossom appliqués that dusted the exterior and lining of many of the looks, and he relied on luxurious fabrics such as gazar and moiré silk, tulle, and organza to add richness to the collection. Opaque stockings and towering metallic stiletto court shoes were paired with crystal-dipped lips - two styling choices that reminded us of the power of Dior theater. Later looks, while simple at first glance, achieved an unusual outline by layering pieces “totem-pole” style. Shrunken swing vests were paired with sleeveless peplum toppers and layered satin pencil skirts, lending the silhouette a curious geometry. However, the couture message carried through in these looks because of deft tailoring, which removed any excess weight from the layers allowing them to appear breezy and delicate. From ball gowns and lean suit separates to layered looks, the collection dazzled with subtle touches that only a close-up view could reveal. Simons closed the show with five wedding dresses, their skirts blown out to exaggerated proportions and, again, dusted with sweet petals.

Simons’ presence at Dior has attracted a younger clientele (a phenomenon known in the industry as the “Raf Simons effect”), but couture presentations are purchased almost exclusively by an elite list of around 200 of the world’s wealthiest women. This scaled-back couture collection from Dior has earmarks of a ready-to-wear collection - wearability, simplicity, classic appeal - but it is his detailed execution that keeps it firmly in the realm of couture. This provides the brand with an opportunity to appeal to young consumers, who will view this collection as a promising direction for the more affordable, forthcoming ready-to-wear line, and it will help Dior’s existing couture clientele stay in step with the brand’s more youthful direction. A rare success indeed.

To view full video coverage of the show, click here.

written by GRACE GORDON|photos: courtesy of GoRUNWAY

-January 21, 2013

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