My book-related work tour continues on into New York, where I’ve thus far, ate TooManyDumplings, been introduced to the music of William Onyeabor and experienced Hudson Valley for the first time. No Met Ball related antics for me (although I’ll be popping in to learn about all things Charles James later on today) but looking at the smorgasbord of pristine white opera gloves, marcel wave do’s and trailing trains from last night, it’s very clear my kind of higgledy piggledy scruff would never be welcome.
All of that mathematically calculated patterning puff, excess of fabric and floor-length-ery relating to Charles James weirdly, segues nicely into Raf Simons for Dior‘s upcoming Cruise show, held tomorrow at Brooklyn Navy Yard. That would be the other reason why I’ve decamped to New York for the week. I say segue. Perhaps, what I really mean is contrast, as Simons’ oevre at Dior has gradually taken a swift and feel-good detour from honouring and paying homage to the Dior and to a lesser extent, Charles James finery of 1950s yesteryear (no surprise that Christian Dior called him the “greatest talent of my generation”), and has progressed onto injecting a Raf-hand of “realness” into his Dior woman.
That bright lights, big city mentality had already thumped its way through the fantastic A/W 14-5 collection, which in my mind, is is best-resolved yet, and when the beats of Vitalic really got going, you could see these laced-up coats, rubber-moulded trainer hybrid heels and quilted puffa-nodding dresses with new age leather opera gloves, weaving in and out of people on a street, going swiftly somewhere. People instantly thought of corsets and control when they looked at all that lace-up detailing running up the sides and backs of wool jackets, dresses and even a plush astrakhan coat, but when rendered in stark white, they were of course trainer laces, to be tightened or loosened at will to ultimately change the silhouette of the outerwear. Dresses were spliced open like a Matisse cut-out, and adorned with a broken-up flower embroidery formation, to reveal a contrasting colour underneath and allowed the dress to move. Intricate nylon quilting gave bounce and airiness top full skirts. Moulded on the heels made the feet look like model cars, vrooming and pounding their way down the runway.
All of these elements were engineered together to express Simons’ idea of the living, breathing, walking and yes, perspiring (not sweating) woman. This desire for speed and swiftness had begun its course last year, when Simons was starting to shed the homage act. I remember being excited by Simons’ interpretation of speed at the last Dior cruise show in Monaco. For the cruise show tomorrow night, I don’t see Simons veering too far away this fast-moving path that he has set Dior on, whilst we’re in a veritable urban jungle like New York.
Whilst we’re on the subject of speediness and pounding the pavement in the city, let’s talk about these ready to wear trainer beauties, which were developed from the spring couture collection shown in January. These were in the ready to wear showroom for A/W 14-5 which means, sometime in August/September I’ll be stalking Dior stores for the first time, with clammy hands and a one-track minded persistence. Sports mesh, bow detailing pastel rubber sole emblazoned with Dior and clusters of that alchemic embroidery, which Simons is so fond of, make-up this brilliant hybrid shoe – the most imaginative of designer trainer specimens that I’ve seen. This is deserved of a separate post once I get them on my feet. That’s steely determination. It’s not an “if” but a “will”.