Although Dior’s brilliant designer, Raf Simons, might not have intended it, his Couture collection for the brand was incredibly subversive. Couture takes thousands of hours to create, with intimate hand-sewn details, gravity-defying construction, and billions of neurons firing on all cylinders to perfect the art of fashion. Typically, this heady, high-minded version of clothing is made-to-measure for the world’s most elite clientele and their black-tie occasions, and yet, today Simons sent nylon jumpsuits down the runway that he audaciously embroidered with tiny flowers. In effect, he removed couture from its towering pedestal and made it wearable, current, and effortlessly beautiful. There is subversion at work in this type of thinking because it removes the prescription for what couture “should be” and trades it in for a more open-minded, broad definition.
More unusual events transpired at Dior, none the least of which began at the beginning, when Simons transfixed the audience with a stunning array of gowns. Traditionally, eveningwear is shown at the end of a presentation, but Simons was more interested in exploring different eras and moods in fashion rather than following Couture Week’s blueprint. His fascination with sculpting exaggerated hourglass silhouettes recalled the costumes of 18th century French courtesans. Beneath a breathtaking canopy of orchids, his gobsmacking gowns transcended the epoch. Then came the aforementioned jumpsuits, so utterly current and easeful in lightweight nylon. Following that, he showed casual, crinkly shirtdresses cinched by grommeted belts, and then again defied expectations by showcasing simple coats. Who would have expected the rebellious elegance of a plain wool coat at a couture show? Or the incredibly basic monochrome separates that were buried beneath floor-sweeping furs? Not only did Simons’ exploration of fashion in different eras hit all the right marks, so did his generosity toward multiple demographics. His tunic length vests and crystal-embroidered jackets skewed much older, but for the youth crowd he saved sweet little mini-dresses and floral mini-skirts with scalloped hems. There were more than a few arresting moments, but the frisson of textured fringe on a shift dress was so alarmingly beautiful it almost caused this writer to go into cardiac arrest. We don’t know how he does it, but we don’t care. This is Simons’ world. We’re just living in it.
Photos: Courtesy of GoRunway