Departed Simons’ spirit runs through Dior’s spring-summer couture show
Venerable French house still without a successor to recently departed creative director, but his team step up with collection full of founder’s lucky charms and with an emphasis on shoulder lines
The hall-of-mirrors scenery, the haunting pre-show music: it felt like Christian Dior was pausing for a moment of reflection following the surprise exit of Raf Simons, Dior’s much lauded creative director, in October 2015. The French fashion house is clearly taking its time replacing him - there was no news of a successor by Christmas and indeed speculation on whether there would be a haute couture show this month at all or indeed a ready-to-wear collection in March – but the show must go on.
It fell to Dior’s young studio design team as a collective to produce the spring collection, a collection very much in the spirit of Simons: modern and young. There were no corseted silhouettes or grand ball skirts. The signature Bar jacket has been elongated and sprinkled with lily of the valley embroideries, a Dior trademark; many of the founder’s other favourite lucky charms crop up in beaded detail. Perhaps the young designers felt they needed some luck.
There was an emphasis on shoulder lines – mostly bare, with wrapped off-the-shoulder necklines a key feature. Some jackets and dresses looked as though they had been pulled off the shoulders while others were exaggerated in volume around the top line. There were slashed skirts and fit and flare coats continuing the youthful spirit, but underpinning it all was a respect for the house’s heritage and Simons’ aesthetic. This team didn’t expect to find themselves producing a haute couture collection, but they pulled it off.