A new era for Dior has begun with the appointment of Raf Simons. And with the Belgian designer's first collection already behind him, many have been quick to offer their opinion - a worthy heir to Galliano? A wrongly-placed minimalist? A visionary, ready to revamp couture?
To contextualise the debate, SHOWstudio has asked curator Timothy Long - a fashion history doyen who has worked with the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Alexander McQueen archive - to draw upon his depth of knowledge and offer an essay on the famous codes of Dior, femininity, glamour and style. Given that Long has worked with Dior items dating back to the company's beginnings, and has even curated an exhibition on Dior clothes between 1947 and the designer's death in 1957 at the Chicago History Museum, there's really no one more qualified to give their two cents on Simons.
The piece - readable in our Behind The Seams project - offers essential background to the house of Dior, assessing not just its influence on design and style but also its role in shaping the nature on modern fashion business. 'For ten years, the fashion world looked to Christian Dior for the new style, from his Zig-Zag collection of 1948, which featured exaggerated cuffs and collars influenced by the quick lines of a pencil sketch, or the H-Line collection of 1954 with a straight silhouette and undefined waistline. Each new collection was so closely followed by the general public that entire stores were changed over with new product once a collection premiered, at a pace never before seen in fashion,' Long writes.