My first thoughts upon viewing Raf Simmon’s third Christian Dior couture show (Fall 2013) were of its multitudes of vibrant color and how rich in texture it was. It felt as if I was viewing the beautiful world of sea creatures that lives within the ocean – a myriad assemblage comprised of all different shapes, sizes and hues.
To hear Simmons say it’s time to “free” couture, continuing with, “It annoys me that couture is thought of as the circus clown of fashion. What interests me is to get down to a more psychological level. To think about individuality, and the cultures women live in.”, the collection made perfect sense to me.
He presented 53 diverse looks where he examined the influence of Europe, America, Asia, and Africa cultures on Dior – the 3-D spacey shibori (the Japanese process that produces that peculiar spiky fabric) represented Asia, Masai-inspired drapes and tribal beading for Africa, tweed tailoring for Europe and his take on the ease of American sportswear.
When one digests the meaning of Freedom, one imagines there being plenty of choice, and this collection had it in spades. There were stunning strapless gowns that I’m sure will be paraded down red carpets around the world, a uniquely regal black-and-white-spotted full-skirted dress with a caped back and matching elbow-length gloves, open weave and flute pleated tea length dresses, a strapless number vibrantly banded in shiny tribal colors and fresh adaptations on the original Bar jacket.
Raf Simmons seemed to want to extend some of that Freedom to himself. To push himself to explore possibilities beyond the classic fifties Dior templates (though he still continues to reproduce two dresses by the old master as an homage) and to challenge his own innate minimalism. And, that is just fine with me!