Appointed in April this year as artistic director of Christian Dior after being let go by Jil Sander in February, Raf Simons finally made his debut at the Christian Dior Fall 2012 Couture Show, churning out 54 looks no less.
Over a million flowers lined the walls from floor to ceiling at the venue on Avenue d’Iena, as Raf Simons referenced the first 10 years of the Dior house (1947-1957), paying homage to Christian Dior’s love for flowers, the bustier bodice, the Bar jacket and of course the midcentury couture silhouette of that time.
“I’ve been very much involved with the period that Christian Dior defined, 1947 to 1957, and it seemed to me very normal to jump into it and work with that, to work with the archive and see how it can be modernized.” -Raf Simons
It was the classic Christian Dior aesthetic updated with Raf Simons’ modernised minimalism. Beadwork and embroidered or appliquéd flowers lined full-skirted dresses, cinched at the waist and cropped to ballet length. Intricacies around the bust area were also a highlight if you look close enough. The injection of colour was just as refreshing, as were the structural peplums. The Bar jacket and coat dress were also continually referenced throughout. All in all, the Christian Dior Fall 2012 couture collection had it all.
“And I think couture is very much about curating something unique for women. Fashion is so mass-produced now; I hope there will come a refocus on how people see couture.” -Raf Simons
“His debut collection was beautiful, modest in its approach to femininity, and thoroughly engaging from the chic tuxedos and cigarette pants that opened the show to the last outfits: long organza and tulle dresses with their backs embroidered with delicate flowers in one color and the fronts in a more intense, Futurist tone.” -Cathy Horyn, The New York Times
“Take things from the archives, then reenergize them in acid yellow or electric blue, colors that weren’t part of the Christian Dior aesthetic. I like to juxtapose elements.” -Raf Simons
“By avoiding theatrical gimmicks, he ran the risk of looking as though he hadn’t done much, but this was a clever, subtle reworking of Dior’s DNA, which promises well for collections to come, and delivered all that he wanted.” -Lisa Armstrong, The Daily Telegraph
“My challenge is to find a beautiful balance: to make women beautiful, to make a woman dream to wear a beautiful outfit.” -Raf Simons
“The result of Monday’s presentation was not a triumph, but it was a selection of ideas by a designer who has a rare aptitude: to meld modernity with romance.” -Suzy Menkes, International Herald Tribune
Catch all 54 looks of the Christian Dior Fall 2012 Couture Collection on style.com
Image Credits: WWD