Fresh take on a classic label as Dior's new boy Raf Simons brings flowers and finesse to the catwalk

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Critics applaud hotly anticipated Paris debut from Raf Simons

Paris Fashion Week

The walls of inter-connecting salons were dressed with no less than 300,000 flowers for Raf Simons' much anticipated debut collection for Christian Dior in Paris yesterday. Guest filed through a first filled with waxy white orchids, then a second entirely covered in sunshine yellow mimosa, on to vivid blue delphiniums, pink peonies, black dahlias and more. Like the house's namesake, Simons loves flowers and such freshness extended beyond the setting.

The tiniest jewelled buds were scattered across New-Look-line dresses; skirts echoed the shape of upturned lilies or soon to open tulips and the colours of the finest silks, furs and gazars were just as lovely as nature intended.

This was an extremely hopeful first outing, full of bright new ideas but respectful of this grand fashion name's heritage all the while. Tailoring was complex, standing away from the body to exaggerate the curves of the female form to which M Dior, likewise, was ardently attached. Discreet trompe l'oeil details – the lapel of a jacket disappearing into its body, for example – spoke more of Simons' own handwriting.

Embroidery was similarly subtle: picture a pair of perfectly cut, black, cigarette leg trousers worn with a jewel-encrusted bell top or a Klein blue bustier revealing the intricate workmanship the French ateliers are known and revered for as its train fluttered from behind.

Since Simons' appointment was formally announced in April, fashion insiders have speculated how this so-called "minimal" designer might interpret Dior's codes, steeped as they are in femininity and nostalgia.

But, the designer said, he is "a romantic person too" and that rang out loud and clear. Still, if haute couture is all about indulgence and a limitless budget, there was a restraint in evidence here that was both welcome and unusual. "I wasn't trying to make a story," Simons, pictured right, added. "I wanted the clothes to be linked to Christian Dior but to make them more dynamic." Add to the mix red mascara, streaks of silver on models' eyelids and an almost violently orange pout and that is what he achieved.

Since John Galliano's dismissal from Dior in March last year, following allegations of anti-Semitism and racism – he was later found guilty of both – Dior women's wear has been overseen by Bill Gaytten, responsible for care-taking the brand until Simons took to the helm. In a rather less bold manner, the former designer also took a mid-20th-century couture silhouette as the foundation to build upon and the result was a "big increase" in sales which leapt by 29 per cent to €284m during the first quarter of this year. Simons has a degree in industrial and furniture design but moved into fashion in the mid-Nineties launching a highly influential menswear line.

From 2005, he designed women's wear for Jil Sander before arriving at Dior. He is the label's sixth couturier. Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan and Gianfranco Ferre all also once presided over the house.

News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
news
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

    salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

    Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

    Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

    Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

    Day In a Page

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower