I don’t like it when people pin it down too quickly.  I don’t want to pin it down myself.”  By “it”, Raf Simons was referring to the aesthetic that he has established over the last two years at the house of Dior.  That’s me told then.  Afterall, I had been the one rooting for and cheering on the increasing level of Raf-ness that we’ve been seeing at Dior over the past few seasons in both the couture and the ready to wear.  Silly fashion commentator me.  OF COURSE Raf Simons will have more tricks up his sleeve than the reality-imbued clothing, which has thus far marked his tenure at Dior.  When I briefly interviewed Simons for Dazed Digital, after the Dior Cruise show in New York, he hinted that in the future, he might explore the more fantastical elements of Dior.  

That speaks volumes about the way we writers and journalists like to box designers in rapidly, sorting and filing them away into stylistic pigeon holes and as a result, hackneyed cliches in articles are hashed out and rehashed.  Ok  Raf.  Lesson learnt.  I’ll try to keep the generalisations to myself.  

With that said, there’s no denying that Simons has been attracted to the idea of women REALLY wearing the clothes he creates at Dior.  The growing sales of the ready to wear supports that and beyond fashion circles, on the streets, I’ve started to see a few instances of Dior par Raf clobber popping up (albeit on the poshest of womenfolk).  Simon’s latest cruise ode to the East/West Coast of America didn’t deviate from that sense of reality – well his sense of reality.  It may have been an extravagant journey – all aboard a Dior-branded yellow taxi ferry complete with Dior grey attired sailors – to get to the Brooklyn Navy Yard.  (Yes, those chiselled Abercrombie-esque sailor dudes were laughing at me as I snapped them).  But the clothes we saw were anything but.  They lived, breathed and moved, thanks to the central leitmotif of the silk carré.  They fluttered on hankerchief hem skirts.  Their corners revealed a triangle of archive Dior prints flapping against stark black and white.  They were ruched under cropped tailored tops and knotted around the ankles on sandals.  Their very square formation would be rendered in organza and patch worked into sheer slip dresses.

Literally flying the flag for nuanced culture clashing, Simons’ take on bohemian LA vibes, evident in the patchwork fur coats, blanket-edged coats and “homespun” macramé, was always balanced out by more rigorous elements.  And so against all that movement and levity was Simons taking a different look at Dior’s structured silhouettes as he dissected the atelier mannequin and used the central bodice as a recurring shape to construct dresses and tops.

Perhaps a better way of describing the Raf-ness that I’ve been perceiving to have seeped into Dior is to call it freedom.  Simons is steering this Dior ship with a firm hand on the wheel.  Where it goes is anyone’s guess but the journey will sure to be an exciting one.  Branded ferries, cute sailors and all.

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The Dior Cruise fashion show, New York, America - 07 May 2014Wearing Sacai satin waistcoat and fringed zipper top, vintage Calvin Klein skirt, Tabitha Simmons shoes, Chloe bag/Photograph from Rex Features

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Comments (8)

  1. Carmen says:

    Love this! The lavender in your outfit is so perfect! Dior is really pushing the limits but in such a good way <3

    xo,
    Carmen
    thefashionreformation.com

  2. LisaLou says:

    Great coverage Susie. I really like reading your posts. Bisou, Lisalou http://www.urbanfroufrou.com

  3. wendy says:

    Your own outfit is runway worthy!

  4. Those Tabitha Simmons shoes, tho!!

    __
    The curated aggregation of the best luxury designer fashion on sale on http://www.thebrokecurator.com

  5. Ann says:

    you were “the one rooting for and cheering on the increasing level of Raf-ness”? Cut the crap, you sycophant. i don’t remember you rooting for the raf-ness at Raf at Raf Simons or Raf at Jil Sander.

    You suddenly adore him at Dior? you are only a chinese clown for the chinese market, he told me.

    • stylebubble says:

      I don’t declare everything that i love on the blog and if you’re a longtime reader, you’ll know that I tend to write about things I’ve personally experienced in real life. I only got to see two of his shows at Jil Sander (which I reported for other publications) and NONE of his Raf Simons shows as I don’t cover menswear. Do not make assumptions about things you know nothing about.
      You are not in my brain and I don’t actually need to justify what I do or do not like to you.

      As for “Chinese clown for the Chinese market” – erm… have you seen my Weibo following? I’m definitely no clown in China. Actually I’m an insignifcant dust speck. China isn’t my market given that I’m British Born, and the fact that you can’t see beyond skin colour says a lot about you. I think Dior’s marketing team know who are the real influencers in China and it certainly isn’t me. Your sentence ending with “He (Raf) told me” – if you’re going to make quotes up, please do so with citation, a real email address and reveal your true identity. Don’t just throw around anecdotal evidence without backing yourself up.

  6. Anastasia says:

    Superb coverage, as if I were there myself and saw it!

    xx

    Anastasia

    http://fashionpeekaboo.com

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