A breath of fresh air blew through not only an old status label but also French fashion as a whole when Raf Simons showed his debut ready-to-wear collection for the house of Christian Dior in Paris yesterday.

First came tailoring: it was stripped back and ultra-light but, with an exaggerated, constructed hip, womanly too. Next out were bell-shaped dresses first seen at Simons' haute couture collection for Dior in July only here in palest fondant colours, wrapped in metallic organza and worn around tailored shorts. They looked like wearable and delicious – sweets.

Dior founded his house in 1947 and "embraced the feminine, the complex and the emotional," Simons said. "An idea of freedom from what had gone before... I wanted to do that too."

He succeeded, from bold, bright trapeze-line dresses naively embellished with jewels to ballgown skirts worn with nothing more complicated than fine-gauge black cashmere knits.

Then there were the accessories to consider. The softest, simplest bags in pastel shades bore only a trace of the requisite chain handle and even that was coloured to match the leather.

"I am a fan of minimalism," Simons continued. "It is a conceptual approach I like, but it not the only one I like. Neither is it the only type of woman that I want to dress." From its brilliant reworking of statement dressing to the youthful vigour of contemporary daywear this was a collection that any woman worth her credentials will love to wear.