Dior Spring/Summer 2016 Best of Ready to Wear Show

ARRIVING in the slipstream of a global superstar such as Rihanna, there was a possibility you would be crushed as casually as the slender delphiniums that forested Christian Dior’s majestic domed show space within the Louvre, such was the surge of fans desperate for a glimpse of their beloved RiRi. All credit to her star-like composure, swathed in a Dior cashmere fur-decorated cape and thigh-high latex booties, she was certainly not breaking sweat like the rest of us in the surprise burst of autumn heat – even the flowers were gently drooping. Inside, however, it was an oasis of cool composure in Raf Simons’s spring garden – a perfectly sheened gloss-white floor ran up to a vast wall of exquisite cornflower blue delphiniums, standing perkily to attention (each of the 400,000 stems were planted individually, there is no skimping at LVMH when it comes to promoting their star Belgian designer, who appears very much at home now in this venerated French house). Giant indigo cranes, hung like futuristic, urban flowers over the catwalk. A reminder that Simons is a designer who likes to bring edge and precision to pretty. “I wanted the collection to have a purity to it,” he told us. And so it did. Exquisitely so. Divine scalloped cotton organdie cami knickers and matching chemise tops, fastened at the side with delicate bars of cute buttons, were the base, the undergarments, on which he layered his ideas, re-working each one with scientific discipline. No look or garment ever became too frothy or brashly extrovert (even the extravagant military jacket embroidered with flowers of sequins and bunched chiffon that will surely appeal to Rihanna was masterfully restrained, well, ish. You need to show off your couture skills occasionally!)

Knitwear came in a series of cropped ribbed Aran and fisherman “rough” knits over sheer bias cut dresses and pretty silk minis. Undulating silk pleats gave feminine gaity to short a-line skirts and to the classic Bar jacket in black wool, where they dropped and flared prettily from the waist.

He has the confidence as a designer to not bombard you with too many new notions. But lets his team at the Paris atelier (now made famous in their documentary Dior and I) work their magic, while he provides the finely wrought scaffolding.

Their mastery was at work in the masculine tailoring, which came in a series of three-piece sharp dark navy pinstriped wool suits, repeated like musical staves amongst cavernous horizontal duchesse pink and cream satin striped parkas and cream military-style jackets.

“To simplify and concentrate on a line that expresses an idea of femininity, fragility and sensitivity, without sacrificing strength and impact,” was his mission statement, he said, for this collection – and this was certainly achieved. The largely soft palette also let the accessories shine – bags came in crushed silver and bronze metallic or bright indigo and crimson. At the models’ necks were simple jewelled silver chokers centralised around circular semi precious discs and tied with sugary pink ribbon.

Backstage standing next to his star cohort (Rihanna is to front next season’s campaigns as well), Simons appeared serene amongst the furore and flasing cameras; you sense he is truly at ease now at Dior and is fully enjoying all this house can offer him.

Emily Sheffield

Dior Spring/Summer 2016 Best of Ready to Wear Show


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