Raf Simmons’ Spring/Summer 2014 collection for Christian Dior comprises the kind of clothes that upon slipping into any one of them you magically feel as beautiful as the collection is itself. This season there was more of an edge involved in Raf’s designs, and as his program notes explained, with this collection he was exploring the idea of “twisting, turning, and pushing Dior,” so that “a beautiful rose garden becomes poisonous.” Even roses with thorns are exquisite.
As Vogue.com reported, “the show opened with the classic hourglass Dior jacket—now deconstructed to wrap around the torso—its traditional mid-century pleated skirts reduced to the tropical flower print, sunray-pleated, chiffon flounces ruffling from beneath the hem of trim little fitted shorts.” More flute pleating followed in asymmetrical skirts paired with see-through delicate knits – I adored the ones with a “with a surprising cut-out reveal on one hip”, or a skirt with a cropped sequin encrusted halter top worn with a flower embossed unstructured leather jacket, as well as a one shouldered black dress with loose askewed cascading pleats.
Simmons brilliantly insinuated surreal slogans (a strong trend through out all the collections) such as “Alice Garden” and “Primrose Path” into classic Dior flora printed dresses. The sublime standout’s skirt was literally seen through black car-wash spliced silk strips. Color, was present not only in the vibrant florals but in the translucent organzas and shiny satins in quirky color patterns like vivid orange with soft mauve or grass green with blush pink.
The collection was presented in acts; act 1 closing with a Bar trouser suit, the classic Dior silhouette, whose backside was an accordion of printed acid colored florals with its very own mini bustle. Immediately followed by the closing act’s parade of classic iconic Dior silhouettes – strapless cocktail dresses with blossoming ballet-length skirts, narrow, pencil-skirted sheath dresses, mini dresses/tops atop sleek legged trousers. All in metallic printed mini florals adorned with a houndstooth emblem.
It was a show with respect for the past – classic Dior, and an equal respect for the future – an infusion of Raf Simmons’ vision for the house.