CHRISTIAN DIOR AUTUMN/WINTER 2015-16 READY-TO-WEAR PARIS FASHION WEEK
The first outfit – a black and blue wool and silk dress with a chain-mail collar – told us the story of Christian Dior’s elegantly sinister collection today.
Rewind to last season and creative director Raf Simons created something light and spellbinding – it was a brave-new-world take on the histrionics of French fashion that felt bright and optimistic, futuristic even.
This season his offering had a darker intent: “I wanted the collection to deal with nature and femininity in a different way,” he said. “Away from the garden and the flower to something more liberated, darker and more sexual.”
The sexed-up story was told from the ground up. Latex legging boots with Lucite heels in glossy black, red or printed vinyl were an assault on the senses and provided the stems to what Simons described as “organic forms” – sumptuous coats and dresses in wools, tweeds and silks.
This animalistic natural fantasy was an idea that had begun with his Haute Couture collection and it blossomed today: “Here there is more wildness, savagery and overt masculinity in the way a woman might present herself,” he described.
Simons flexed his menswear design roots with a dextrous light hand. The typical feminine tailleur was replaced by masculine tailoring: two-piece tweed suits with cropped legs and turn-ups and classic, plain blue men’s dress shirts worn oversized and tucked into a monochrome tweed skirt. Roomy cashmere coats in a rainbow of colours gave momentum to the masculine proportion play.
This was a commercial collection (when you’re LVMH brand with turnover in the realms of billions, commercial isn’t a dirty word). There were 56 looks in total and almost half of those were finished with a coat or jacket. The bodysuits, which are becoming a Dior signature under Simons (along with baby pink and grass green coats), made the perfect hanger for them.
The entire collection was extremely wearable and even the print – an abstract animal pattern – didn’t scare the horses. This wasn’t a grand collection, it was completely clever. “There was a clarity of clothes there, said Vogue fashion director Lucinda Chambers. “It was unashamedly easy to wear, there was no apology for that and that’s where it strength lay. I thought it was so much to buy and so much to love.”