Raf Simons’ appointment as Artistic Director to the House of Christian Dior came at a time of scandal and controversy, but he never allowed external issues to influence or limit his creativity, focusing instead on his craft and presenting breathtakingly beautiful collections season after season. The man is nothing if not a visionary, and the vision he infused into his Spring 2014 collection was one of the future: his very own take on the Dior codes.
Simons began by setting the scene for what was to come by building hanging gardens of orchids, wisterias, vines, and other exotic, unrecognizable flora above his runway in the gardens of the Rodin Museum in Paris. Rodin himself had once said, “Nature and Antiquity are the two great sources of life for an artist,” and, as the first model emerged onto the runway, it was clear that nature and antiquity, in this case the DNA of the House of Dior, had been the two great sources of inspiration for Simons this season. For his first look, he had spliced one of Christian Dior’s most iconic pieces, the Bar jacket, crisscrossed it down the front of the model’s torso, and paired it with a cross-pollination – as the show notes state in subtle reference to the botanic influences at play – of a short and a floral-printed skirt.
This collection is a celebration of flower women, or femmes-fleur – staples of Art Nouveau designs, somewhere between woman and flower, with hair resembling strands of vegetation. Simons’ flower women wore beaded accessories that resembled algae and vines draped around their necks, hanging over their shoulders, and wrapped around their wrists. Nature has always been a great source of inspiration for Raf Simons, and he tampered it with modern silhouettes and cutouts that appeared like pleasant surprises on a model’s chest or in the back of a shirtdress, the buttons of which ran down the side as opposed to the front of the shirt.
Simons is designing for the patrons that will follow him into the future of the House of Dior, embracing its new direction. For those women, to whom he refers as “the new sect of flower women”, he has even designed a Dior badge, a proud symbol of the new and of what is to come.
Photos: Courtesy of GoRunway