DIOR HAUTE COUTURE BY RAF SIMONS
by Jeremy Danté
PARIS – as the new christian dior debuted today, fashion has seemingly become elevated into a now global discussion with the recent evidence being visible on twitter. among the most talked about incidences in recent history, raf simons is now at the helm of the house of christian dior & made his debut on the runways of paris for the FW12 couture season. soundtracked by a contemporary, electronic runway sound- the show was live streamed at christian dior’s website as we seen fashion journalist tim blanks, editor-in-chief at vogue italia, franca sozzani, givenchy’s ricardo tisci & W magazine’s own, stefano tonchi & edward enninful sitting front row. it was as if everyone in fashion had been holding their breath. there has been so much speculation during the last year about whether or not this was even a reality. yes, that reality saw the light of day today. the dramatic floral walls were completely extravagant & brought about the energy that this show would be the one to beat. but the clothes seemed to fly just under our expectations. the first few looks were suits- wait. what? let’s get this out of the way first & foremost, i am a minimalist. that is the direction in which i choose to define my own personal style. this collection was minimal. this collection is minimal. the art of haute couture- not often associated with minimalism. i think we, as a grouping of fashion spectators have become desensitized by the imaginative theatricality of john galliano. as W magazine’s edward enninful made public his thoughts of dior’s previous director he spoke, “thinking of john gallinao today, talk about setting the bar high”. with that energy being cast into the air, one couldn’t help but admit that the golden age of christian dior is, tragically, over. i won’t sit in disappointment thinking that there can’t be another great era for the label, but in seeing this collection, the level of design which is being produced pales in comparison to the work of galliano.
that said, there seems to be a goal to re-establish what & who this dior woman is, in our modern times. some of the collections pieces contained extravagant beading which is often associated with the art of couture craftsmanship but still, the clothes are boring. the floral walls & new age soundtrack are beautiful but what does all that matter if we come away dissatisfied with the clothes? and these are not just clothes, but couture. that is exactly what raf showed here today- clothes. this was most certainly not couture. from vision to cohesion, or lack there of- much of this collection was wrong, not up to par & is far too simple to properly introduce this new era of christian dior which we have all been waiting for. most of us are thinking, “this is how you replace galliano?” – looking at how subtle these clothes are, i get it- the house of christian dior has been built on soft, feminine sophistication but in the same regard, john galliano elevated the house of christian dior to violent elegance & explosive glamour- it was a show you came to see when you were at christian dior during couture season. seemingly, everything that the label & what we’ve come to define as dior under the direction of galliano has been stripped to practically nothing. even in casting, where are our ‘it’ girls? where are our dior faces? there was no karlie kloss, where is joan smalls? where is dior? the dior we know & love has seemingly been reduced to minimalism & couture accents rather than full on haute-make-you-grab-your-fucking-chest-and-gasp-for-air-couture.
while i am excited to see what raf will do with the collections he directs at dior, i do have to wonder as well; is he a fitting replacement? sure he can create clothes & beautifully so, but was galliano ousted as an artist because he was not easily controlled & raf can be easily manipulated? this collection brings us to the conversation about fashion & how it is controlled by money, dicated by corporations & ruled by consumer demands. fashion should be ruled by creativity, under the direction of artists & frankly, if fashion were being judged in that capacity, this collection would be nothing of value. im not saying that the collection is bad, in fact it’s good- but maybe that’s the problem. with a house like christian dior & all the glamour of the house legacy- we don’t want good, we want fucking great. that is not what was delivered here & i don’t give a fuck who is in the front row- where is the glamour? there was no allure, there was no theatricality, no spark & no sense of excitement in the collection that made you say to yourself, “this. is. fashion.” – of the 54 looks that were presented, you were left wanting more & not in a ‘this is too good’ type of hunger but a longing the sense of, that it? i would rather have had 10 amazing looks that can live up to the dior couture standard, rather than seeing 54 watered down gowns with no embellishment, no show stopping elements. when thinking of other collections that will be presented this couture season, hell- even considering how intricate the FW12 ready-to-wear collection by the house of balmain was & then you look at this collection of almost nothingness, you wonder- where is the house going? what direction are they taking? im all for simplifications but i understand the demands for drama, the thirst for theatricality & the calling out for true couture. we’re looking for couture that fucks with our brains & makes us ask ourselves- “how does beauty this intense even exist?” – we did not find that here & im fearful of when we will, ever again with the house of christian dior.