ONCE again held at the Rodin Museum, today’s Christian Dior Couture show saw us enter another Raf Simons structure in the gardens – oblong this time – which contained an orchid-walled circular structure. “Confronting what people now think is modern” – as Simons stated in the show notes – the designer created a mash-up of historical fashion references, taking inspiration from the Eighteenth century French court, Edwardian tailoring through to the modern day.
Watched by a front row that included Charlize Theron, Sean Penn, Valerie Trierweiler, Mario Testino, Paolo Roversi, the Arnaults and Bianca Jagger, the collection was shown in sets of not more than eight or 10 looks, which was effective in concentrating the mind to focus on the details. Simons did not deviate from his usual model of choice – pale-skinned, straight-haired – but did send them out to meander in a circle, hands in pockets, no linear sense of a catwalk to speak of.
The show started at the end, in traditional couture terms, beginning with ballgowns and further reiterating the message that all is now one in the same. Pannier-skirted gowns were three-quarter rather than full-length and were worn with narrow, sporty bodice tops in embroidered silk and armfuls of silver bangles.
The second set was more sporty: a grey silk jumpsuit with zipped details and minute motifs cinched with a metal belt bearing lacquered discs; while the third introduced an Edwardian mood: long patterned coats and one long grey mink coat worn simply with black trousers.
Typically, luxurious fabrications – with coats in mink, chinchilla and cashmere – were bought down to ground level by the simple styling and the nonchalant models, all in flat shoes and casually strolling. The following section, featuring Eighteenth century-inspired fop coats in heavily embroidered pastels, and then a number of dark navy pea coats with exaggerated taped shoulder detail, had the same easy mood.
A suggestion of time travel, approached in Simons’ unique way, manifested itself in a collection that brought history up to date.