A series of rooms filled with an abundance of flowers set the stage for Raf Simons’s thoroughly modern couture debut at Christian Dior. But even though the blooms, arranged by color across five salons, were mesmerizing — Anna Wintour was overheard saying to Grace Coddington, “Isn’t this amazing? A million flowers.” — their beauty didn’t distract from the glory of the show.
With respectful nods to the house’s past, Simons created a collection that interpreted Christian Dior’s 1947 design aesthetic for women living in 2012. Some said the collection represented a New New Look, and with its generous peplums and updated versions of wasp-waisted dresses and balloon-skirted gowns, this collection certainly belongs to that tradition.
The backs of some dresses were covered in reproductions of Dior’s archival embroidery patterns, while the fronts were decorated with Simons’s version of the same embellishments. Pastel feathers were used in the embroidery work to inject the house’s signature colors into the offering. Cathy Horyn tweeted a picture of the house’s classic bar jacket, which was treated with black beads that looked like caviar and paired with cigarette pants. The garments that were left unadorned — like a slim strapless cocktail dress in pale pink — displayed subtle details like gentle pleating. Derek Blasberg proclaimed that “in the last 13 minutes, Raf Simons just single-handedly altered the contemporary haute couture landscape.”
Other important faces in the industry, including Alber Elbaz, Pierre Cardin, Stefano Tonchi, Franca Sozzani, Marc Jacobs, Donatella Versace, and Azzedine Alaia, attended the show. Diane von Furstenberg said the offering was “superb” and exclaimed “another talented Belgian!” Nina Garcia, meanwhile, said Simons’s show was “beautiful, perfect, and simple.” And it was.