Simons proves he can run the Dior show


IN THE most highly anticipated show of the week in Paris, Raf Simons, the new creative director at Dior, raised the bar yesterday with a stellar debut spring collection for the august French fashion house.

The event at the Hôtel des Invalides, which was transformed with a white tent bearing the word Dior, attracted huge crowds and paparazzi hoping to catch a glimpse of Kanye West, Robert De Niro and other celebrity guests arriving in the afternoon sunshine.

The response after the show was immediate and positive. “C’est magnifique,” breathed a chic Parisienne behind me. “Moi, je l’adore,” sighed her friend.

The mix of tailoring with flou was sure, sexy and true to the house’s intrinsic motifs – but not imprisoned by them either. The look was fundamentally feminine, whether it was a shapely grey tuxedo suit with a foulard, or a radiant metallic ballerina skirt with a simple black knitted top. Gauzy overlays added lightness.

The Bar, Dior’s famous jacket, was interpreted in many new ways, with inverted pleats, flared godets and appliquéd embroidery bringing freshness and urbanity to one of the house’s signature shapes.

A recurring motif was the new jacket/dress, which was mostly short with a nod to the liberated silhouettes of the 1960s – but you could see it setting a modern trend. There were some standout A-line dresses and bursts of colour, such as a dress in lollipop orange organza and another in embroidered black tulle and silk.

The Dior show may have dominated yesterday’s other collections, but there were many surprises in the shade. Issey Miyake’s graphic play on black and white made for some strong visual effects, as did his dizzy keyboard stripes, zig-zag colours and zany prints.

Roland Mouret’s collection was terrific too, with sexy, block-coloured cutaway dresses, slim white suits, creamy cropped bomber jackets and silk separates that looked like soft brown leather. The designer also proved that, apart from well-engineered dresses, he can cut a mean trouser.