Fall 2013 Couture – Christian Dior

For his third couture collection for Dior (exactly a year since taking the role of creative director) Raf Simons took his audience beyond the Parisienne walls of the Avenue Montaigne and sent them on a multi-cultural journey across the world. Simons commented:

“This collection evolved to be about Dior, not just being about Paris and France, but about the rest of the world and how many fashion cultures impact on the house and on myself” 

Influences of Asia, the Americas and even African masai were evident in the pure fabrics, bold stripesbright colours, and tribal patterns. There were peplum flaps attached to the iconic Bar jacket, mirroring the layers of a Japanese kimono – showing that Simons is keeping to his well-known signatures, yet confidently evolving them every season.

Other Raf-signatures such as houndstooth and black wool-day dresses and strapless numbers were all present, however almost unrecognisable amongst the worldly themes influencing them this season. The pieces were beautifully adorned with African beadwork or sculpted with tulip hems. African flags, Japanese Obi belts and dresses were featured throughout – this was Dior as seen through the eyes of an African tribeswoman or Japanese Geisha.

Described by style.com’s Tim Blanks as a “different kind of dynamic in couture”, it was clear that Simons sought to show the house of Dior as part of a global fashion culture, rather than being so closely associated with Paris, as couture so often is.

The variety of it all was said by some to be hard to make sense of, however the mix was everything, the essence and underlying message of the collection. Simons may have been breaking boundaries by straying away from convention – yet the Dior tradition wasn’t lost: the former founder himself was a self-confessed internationalist. In addition, as an homage to the old master Dior, Simons reproduces two dresses from the original house each collection.

This new couture, in my eyes, is truly welcomed as a refreshing take on classic haute-couture traditions. Simons noted, “If we don’t adapt to what women in society are now about, couture might disappear”. So maybe it’s this adapting modernity that will save it — thinking about couture as taking fashion tradition and making it relevant to different cultures (and prospective clients, because what is couture without its clients?!)

Either way, all I can say is once again Simons has amazed us – and will no doubt continue to do so.

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Paris Fashion Week: the Grand Finale

Paris Fashion Week: some may call it the crème de la crème, the cream of the crop, the best of the best of what is Fashion Month…But i’d rather call it the grand finale.

Now I agree to the extent of seeing it as something otherworldly, but I wouldn’t necessarily say the designers who show during Paris Fashion Week are more talented than the rest – I mean would Alexander Wang and Marc Jacobs (both hailing from New York) have been chosen to design for Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton if they weren’t as talented as the Parisian founders themselves or their present-day colleagues/rivals? I don’t think so. — Not to mention German Kaiser Karl at Chanel and the spectacular visions of Belgian Raf Simons at chéz Dior.

I do tend to favour Paris over the others, though. New York may be my favourite in terms of having the edgiest, most wearable clothes out there; London may be in its prime for prints and futuristic looks for those who have luxury of never feeling out of place wearing just about anything whilst strutting upon the London streets; and Milan I feel is exciting and outrageous with a sense of beautiful traditionality and decadence within the collections, whilst always pushing the limits and surprising its audiences.

Paris is a combination of the best aspects of all three aformentioned cities but it has something more. It has this lure of luxury to it, with clothes definitely unattainable on my current income, or lack thereof (at least for the moment!), but which I find myself lusting after and can only dream of wearing one day. It just so happens that I spend the most time memorising the looks of every Paris show over the others to see how and where I can slightly alter my wardrobe every season to encompass just some of that Parisian je ne sais quoi so present in the collections.

So again, I think it’s more of a personal thing for me as to why i’ve chosen to favour Paris over New York, Milan and London – the imaginative aspect of it (and much of my childhood spent daydreaming of Chanel handbags and having my sketches inspired by Giambattista Valli gowns!) captures my heart and soul that I just can’t seem to look away.

Therefore, here are some of my favourite shows — let’s call it an ‘ode‘ to the grande finale that is Paris Fashion Week.

From top to bottom: Valentino, Dior, Giambattista Valli, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Céline, Chloé, Balmain

Photos: vogue.com; style.com