“A real Dior look will always be feminine. It will always have a silhouette.”
To work for Dior you must know the Dior customer. Christian Dior himself was very much about bringing femininity back into fashion with a masculine edge. He made clothing that emphasized a women’s hourglass curve, made busts, shoulders, and hips appear fuller. A thin waist and a lot volume at the bottom was the New Look style. His focus was the women’s silhouette, which was also his inspiration and drive to create.
Raf Simons came into couture without any previous experience in the industry or women’s wear, for that matter. Raf worked in men’s ready-to-wear and ready-to-wear takes less time to make and involves less intricate finishes or detailing. In the film Dior & I, we watch Raf Simons first moments of meeting the ateliers and working with them to produce his first collection in a seven week period. Raf is not used to the pressure that unfolds during the process of creating the collection. The ateliers not only work for the house, but they also have their own clients to deal with. When the first meeting comes around where all the designers and merchandisers congregate into one room to discuss what should stay in the collection and what shouldn’t, one of the ateliers had to take a trip to New York because a personal client of theirs was unhappy with a dress and wanted the dress refitted. This atelier so happened to be an hour late to the model fitting because her flight back to Paris was delayed. With Raf being under so much stress he was not pleased with any sort of setback in his plans.
Raf’s muse is music and art. It consumes his everyday life so much so that he feels it’s in his system. In Raf’s first collection he wants to take a Sterling Ruby painting and see it come alive onto a dress. After much haggling and debate between Raf and the fabric makers, this piece is brought to life. When you take a close look into Raf Simons work you will see he was trying to encapsulate the vision Dior had for his work. He was also attempting to take Dior’s old looks and have them coincide with this time period, making it appear more modern. There is an audience, however who dislikes Raf Simons work. Compared to John Galliano, his work isn’t theatrical and extravagant. People will say he is too much of a minimalist and because of that it supposedly makes his work boring. But being a long time follower of Raf Simons and seeing what he was trying to accomplish through his collections, his work is exemplary of what Christian Dior would be creating today if he was still alive.
The first premiere was Raf Simons most well-known show. It took place during Paris Fashion week in a mansion. What made this show stand out so much from anything anybody has ever seen, is every wall was showered with flowers of various colors, complementing one another and turning the stage into a whole other world. In Raf’s first collection, quite a few of the garments were business casual yet they complemented the women’s figure through the use of steel waist belts, beaded accents and the emphasis of curves and bust through the play of fabric. One garment in particular stood out to me because it was a black pleated business pant paired with a Miss Dior inspired, bustier flower dress. The look was clean, yet elegant.
In October of 2015, Raf resigned from working for Christian Dior. It had nothing to do with his co-workers or any sort of issue with money. He just felt that having to do six shows a year puts a strain on his creative-thought process. Raf is going back to focusing on his men’s label where he will have more time to create and produce. The last show Raf Simons did in October was for Spring/Summer 2016. The staging of his last show was airy and whimsical with glossy, white-tiled floors and lilac flowers in the background. Ambient music was played, setting the mood for Raf’s very last collection for Dior. Every outfit was embellished with a choker pendant and the use of scallop trims was seen throughout the whole collection in the shorts and tops.
Raf Simons work for Christian Dior has given the Dior customer a fresh look that is accommodating to and wanted by a broader sector. For a man who has never met Christian, Raf revitalized the Old Dior and turned it into something so much more rich and promising.