Simons’ collection casts off the shadow of Galliano at Dior

Second outing for brand effortlessly blends surrealism with classic silhouettes

Dior has already been in the news this week after the young actress, and new face of the brand Jennifer Lawrence tripped up on her voluminous mermaid Dior gown on the way to collect her Oscar for Best Actress.

Lawrence, fast becoming America’s favourite leading lady thanks to her laid-back attitude, laughed off her mishap. Recently the star was announced as the face of Miss Dior, the handbag line from the French heavy-weight.Lawrence has caused more controversy this week when she exclaimed on seeing the campaign images for the first time “Oh my God, I haven’t seen these. That doesn’t look like me at all! I love Photoshop more than anything in the world.”

But yesterday, the serious business of fashion resumed in Paris where the fall/winter collection was shown in designer Raf Simons’ second ready-to-wear collection for the brand. Firmly shaking off his new boy label, Simons presented a beautiful collection which left the audience in no doubt that he is the perfect man for the post previously held by John Galliano.

“This collection is more connected to passions we share,” said Simons of the new season and of the link between him and the design house’s namesake.

“Like a real interest in art – Christian Dior started his career as a gallerist and represented both Dali and Giacometti. The connection to certain periods in time is also significant, his obsession with the Belle Epoque in his case, the Mid-Century modern in mine. Here the connections made are important, the very idea of them rather than what they are made to; the attraction and obsession is the significant part.”

Surrealism was simply a reference point rather than literally applied to the garments, although seams were often asymmetric – a detail carried through from the Haute Couture collection which was shown in July – and models walked in a space filled with giant mirrored balls and a floor painted to look like a cloud-filled sky.

Most silhouettes were typical of Dior, including the bar jacket and ‘new look’ frock coats. Fabrics too looked back to the archives with houndstooth check in abundance. Departures included monochrome cable knit outfits and chiffon dresses with a twenties drop waisted pattern which were printed, appliquéd and embellished with motifs of pointed shoes, birds, key holes and feathers. These motifs were in fact the result of another art world link: that of pop artist Andy Warhol, for which the designer worked on a collaboration with the The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

“For me Warhol made so much sense,” says Simons of this collaboration. “I was interested in the delicacy and sensitivity in the early work he did.”

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