For his fifth season since taking over Galliano’s reign of haute couture, Raf Simons went towards the historical studies of Haute Couture: looking back in order to move forward. It was that juxtaposition of finding the modern extremity through the antiques and historical in haute couture that made this Dior collection more than a mere couturier spectacle. “What I was attracted to was an idea of architectural construction – that is a very Dior attitude – how the foundations of one era are based on another, how the future is based on the past,” by the man himself, Raf Simons, in describing his Fall/Winter 2014 couturière chef-d’oeuvre. Simons wasn’t interested in taking back his inspiration by a couple decades; inevitably “going far means going big” for Simons, and by all means literally way further back into the past.
The masterpiece was lined up through the influences of 18th-century frock coats, Marie Antoinette inspired corsets, brocade gowns and overblown skirts and those 1920’s generously cut flapper dresses. Yet amongst these antique pieces, there was that modernist transformation shown through the uniforms of the first astronauts in their all-in-ones pieces, which was Simons’ historical bridge binding his collection to become a haute couture timeline. The results became frock coats in embroidered silk worn with straight black trousers and tops, hoop skirts constructed to transform lighter via tulle structure, wool coats with rounded shoulders and long Edwardian coats with modernized tailcoats. The Dior momentum was released on the Bar Jacket, with its exaggerated peplum worn with sheath tops with paneled hems. The elegance in all this was through the lightness in Simons’ choice of impeccable fabrics, rustling and wafting in the air appearing on their ballet-length ball dresses. And the contemporary intake was through its modernized silhouettes from Dior’s outdated archives. Simons kept to a minimum in his palette ranging from off-white, navy, pale green, baby pink to electric blue.
Simons intended on allowing his clothes to not be a force of look for his Dior women, but to become a loyal partner of life, available only in Paris catering to those world’s richest women. With this, Simons was able to take Dior to become a fashion time machine connecting every dot that was once a grey dimension, empowering the power of women’s haute couture as a joie de vivre. The value in which Simons communicated his collection through is one that should be a backbone to all the participants in the industry – the eternal light of haute couture lies within the past. Félicitations, Monsieur Raf Simons! (Text Nadilla Sari Ratman)