This Week's Wow Video: How Raf Simons Is "Shaking Up" Dior
In this weekly feature, InStyle’s fashion news director Eric Wilson shares his favorite fashion moment of the week, and explains how it could shape styles to come. Look for it on What’s Right Now every Friday.
The Moment: Walking along the Croisette in Cannes with some colleagues this week, looking for a decent ice cream stand while dodging the construction workers who were barricading the beach for the onslaught of celebrities about to attend the film festival there, I wondered for how long this current fashion moment of opulent press trips for cruise collections can possibly last. Certainly, the enormous amount of coverage that has resulted from the recent shows of Chanel, Dior, and Louis Vuitton, likely justifies the expense these companies are paying for just one fashion show. Yet not all that much is actually said about the clothes, which are part of the most important collections for the designers, commercially speaking.
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The Dior show on Monday happened to be one of the most approachable, and precise, from the designer Raf Simons since he became artistic director three years ago. Part of the reason, as I learned in a video interview with the designer, which you can watch above, is that he intentionally lightened the collection, adding brighter colors (inspired by the palette of the French Riviera) and younger-skewing ideas that were not so literally weighted with the history of Dior.
Simons still approaches ideas in an abstract way so that the finished designs look contemporary, even though their historic references might also be apparent, like the manteaux coats and pleating details in this collection, now rendered in light madras, with a sliver of picnic table gingham beneath. But watching this show, and hearing him talk about the collection, I noticed a light dress made of a base of white netting was knit with bright patches of fur created a sunny patchwork from unexpected materials. Likewise, the patterns seen on a series of lurex tops were abstractions of sunsets and seascapes.
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Why It’s a Wow: It was a gorgeous collection, and happily I had the opportunity to interview Simons, who explains here why he chose the location – Pierre Cardin’s Palais Bulles, or Bubble Palace – as well as many of the ideas that went into the work this season. As you will hear from the designer, his years at Dior have led him to discover his own attraction to Christian Dior’s universal language of feminine beauty and inspiration by nature. Of course, Simons adds, “then it’s my nature to still add things, to shake it up a little bit.”
Learn More: See our earlier coverage of the Dior cruise show, and take a look inside Assouline’s book on the Palais Bulles.