The definition of “modern” has experienced massive changes since its birth in the Enlightenment period. Modern styles of dress in previous centuries have been defined by pecuniary status, especially in the courts of Versaille where fashion is said to have started. In the current century, fashion is less a socioeconomic demarcator and more an expression of individual personality. As the definition of modern adapts with the currents of the zeitgeist, so does our understanding of what makes the fashions of our day consistent with the definition.
In many ways, Christian Dior’s Spring/Summer 2015 represents an anachronistic understanding of style, as designer Raf Simons culls from 18th century fashion for a rarefied fusion of past and present. The challenge Simons then faces in undertaking such an audacious thesis is in refreshing archaic motifs, and appropriating them for current cultural climes.
Simons’ “back to the future” presentation for Spring/Summer 2015 might have relied on frock coats, panier skirts, Edwardian collars, and mid-century dressing gowns, but he orchestrated the aforementioned modern tone with rigorous tailoring and sparse embellishment that eschewed fin-de-siècle excess in favor of more streamlined approach.
While the 18th century had its heavy, stiff gowns, Simons favors airy, lightweight looks, either pricked by tiny prints or saturated in bright shades of scarlet, dayglo pink, and saffron. His forward-thinking message also included smart pairings, with adaptations of past finery teamed with easily accessible separates. His court coats worn over quilted skater shorts and knit tops are a perfect example of the high/low mix, as are the fine jersey tanks buttoned to exaggerated panier skirts. Although conceptually highbrow, Simons’ work is incredibly friendly to the contemporary consumer, and it is striking that any notions of red carpet fare are curiously missing from the presentation. This is straightforward day dressing that manages to redefine long debated definitions of modernity, yet again.
Photos: Courtesy of Imaxtree