Raf Simons' Debut for Christian Dior
Fall Couture 2012.
Last night Raf Simons presented his first show for Dior. It was a couture show, no less, which is surely a baptism by fire. We didn't get to go because we are slaving away on our 100th issue (off to print very soon!) but if we had gone we would have been so excited to A) be back in Paris for summer, B) be at a couture show and C) be in the presence of Raf's genius.
I am like a stage mum when it comes to his work, or a giddy girlfriend. At Jil Sander shows, and even his menswear presentations, I sit there grinning like an idiot, making up a shopping list in my head and a pretend life to go along with it: Lake Como, aid work in Africa and a tall man in a woollen jumper on a couch by a fireplace are often a feature.
Anyway, I digress. My point is that I am not going to critique it, because even if I was there I probably couldn't, so here is a summary of what other journalists (who were there) have said. In a nutshell, though, he got mad props all round.
Cathry "Never one to sugarcoat" Horan, The New York Times:
"At a time when much of high fashion is highly influenced by image, whether iconic photographs from 1950s couture or new manipulated digital images, Mr. Simons's debut essentially asks people to trust their own eye. His clothes are often so simple that you have to look at them for a while before you see the small gesture or the magisterial way of sleeveless black crepe falls over the body. He gets the most and the best out of couture, and this is just the start."
A more measured review by Robin "I'm not afraid of Karl Lagerfeld" Givhan for The Daily Beast. Though, it ends on a high note: "If there was a disappointment, it was Simons's use of fur. This isn't a political assessment but rather an aesthetic one. Astrakhan fur pants might be an indulgence that is irresistible to a couture customer—that rare, fabulously wealthy, patient-enough-to-endure-multiple-fittings bird—but their bulk was more than even the slenderest of models could overcome. There was tremendous technique in a midnight-blue mink and astrakhan cocktail dress, but the ultimate garment was unforgiving to the female figure ...
"The collection was not a definitive pronouncement of a new Dior, nor was it too attached to history. It was not a spectacle. But it was far more than a mere droning on about techniques and hidden luxuries. It was the best sort of debut: one that promises a thoughtful conversation."
Bridget "I work for the fashion industry's bible" Foley, Women's Wear Daily:
"Simons brilliantly handled the back-and-forth between sophisticated elegance and the younger end of his range, always with a fierce focus on construction and subtly of detail. Nor was that dichotomy his lone point of contrast. He worked with various weights — deep blue astrakhan and mink, and light-as-air pastel mesh for suits and dresses. Against his ample blacks and grays he flaunted his love of color — a simply flamboyant coat in "Dior Red," a high-impact evening pairing of sheer T-shirt and skirt in shocking citron ...
"The collection was not only beautiful but the work of an already-established fashion star imposing his own brilliant aesthetic upon an iconic legacy without a trace of intimidation. This allows Dior to move on finally and definitively from one magical chapter in its history — and at their height, the Galliano years were magical — with every indication of another commencing. Bravo, Raf. Congratulations, Dior."