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Runway

Dior RTW Fall 2016

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Christian Dior RTW Fall 2016 Christian Dior RTW Fall 2016 Christian Dior RTW Fall 2016 Christian Dior RTW Fall 2016 Christian Dior RTW Fall 2016 Christian Dior RTW Fall 2016 Christian Dior RTW Fall 2016 Christian Dior RTW Fall 2016
Dior RTW Fall 2016. Source & Images Via WWD

Raf Simons has left the building and there’s a collection to be done. What to do? Start with — surprise! — the B’s: basic black and a Bar jacket. That was the approach taken by studio directors Serge Ruffieux and Lucie Meier for their Dior show on Friday. The result was a lineup of attractive, often alluring clothes. The kind of clothes that, at another moment, might have comprised the commercial counterpart to a more experimental runway show.

Meier and Ruffieux did a good job. They worked with a lean silhouette, sensual but not vulgar. Their emphasis on black began with sturdy fabrics and featured well-placed details — a wide, self-fabric X buttoned onto a short coat; a V-shaped ruffle front of a knit top-and skirt look.

The designers integrated color and considerable decorative flourish, always controlled and usually in the manner of Simons, whose major contribution at Dior was the imposition of his modernist aesthetic on the house codes. This fusion continued in the way a fluid printed dress or camel cashmere coat draped at the neck, in fabric mixes does — a hint of print from under a short, side-slit skirt, and some bold, unfussy embroideries. Evening offered some lovely looks that bared one or both shoulders with a hint of exotica.

Runway

Dior RTW Spring 2015 Collection

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Dior RTW Spring 2015 Collection Images & Source WWD

Backstage before his Christian Dior show on Friday, Raf Simons explained that his spring starting point was the couture collection he showed in July. He chose to adapt its elements for two reasons, because of the excess speed of fashion and because many ready-to-wear clients had expressed their desire for clothes in a vein similar to the mood of the couture.

That collection’s ruse was the establishment of a new modernity through examination of historical motifs, particularly 18th-century court attire, cross-referenced with disparate elements, from street to stratosphere.

His approach here was similar. Simons took it all down a notch, as befits the gap from couture to mere luxury. What remained: a focus on cut, inspired by the court coat and because, he said, “you see so many clothes that have so much stuff on them that I started to think more about actual construction. Also because that’s what Christian Dior did so much — an architectural approach.”

Runway

Dior Haute Couture Fall 2014

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Dior Haute Couture Fall 2014 Source & Images WWD

Dior Haute Couture Fall 2014: If couture venues are chosen to suit the personality of the designer, it makes sense that Dior shows at the Rodin Museum.  The collection that Raf Simons showed on Monday was fascinating in its foundation, and often beautifully rendered. “This collection is very historically inspired,” Simons said in a preview backstage. “It felt like a challenge to look further back in history and see how I could modernize certain aesthetics. That is my constant drive, to make it younger and make it relevant to women in their lives today. Always, to be modern.” So, too, was the mesmerizing set: a pristine, round pavilion, its mirrored walls covered in thousands of densely packed white orchids.

The Dior Show featured eight distinct sections, some seemingly unrelated but in fact linked by Simons’ manipulation of past concepts into modern chic. The first inspiration: constricting 18th-century courtly costume that corseted women and fancified men. Simons interpreted the Robe à la Française, a structured bodice with massive side-to-side volume in the skirt, with outward subtlety — from an old pretty dress sprung a series of new pretty dresses. Yet underneath, he shunned that critical foundation of both the 18th century and current couture, the corset. These charmed in white, silver, barely there green and blue jacquards, their exquisite embroideries applied with smart restraint.

Runway

Dior Cruise 2015

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Dior Cruise 2015: The scarves provided a major motif, derived from Simons’ interest in the carré designed by Christian Dior and sprung from the house founder’s love of flowers.

“I wanted to deal with [the carré] in a different way,” Simons said during a preview the day before. “Not as a styling element around the neck. I wanted to see how can we use that as an element [of design], and see how I could deal with prints and flowers in a different way.” He also aimed “to touch on elements of Dior history but also link to what I feel when I am in New York.”

Runway

Dior RTW Fall 2014

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Raf Simons has arrived at Dior. After a period of polite, for fall, Simons started to put his mark on the house in no uncertain terms. It was a necessary move that signaled Dior’s willingness to temper New Look worship with real-world pragmatism.

“When you take a position at a heritage house, you also think about your whole situation and your own position,” he said before the show. “What you stand for, what you believe in and what you express naturally and how you can add that to the world you’re representing.”

 

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