On Monday afternoon, guests to the Dior show walked into the Parisian Musée Rodin - the Maison’s traditional couture venue – to find everything but a traditional couture décor: there was velvet-like rose pink carpeting on the floor and an assemblage of mirrors on the ceiling. In between, scaffoldings (reflected ad infinitum on the looking glasses) gave the place an eerie feeling somehow reminiscent of the first few scenes of William Klein’s surreal masterpiece mockumentary Qui êtes-vous Polly Maggoo?
Like Klein’s film, the collection’s aesthetic was retro-futurist. There were hints of the fifties jolie madame and the New Look in the voluminous skirts, but if flower prints and embroideries in pastel shades of blue, yellow and pink were omnipresent in the dresses with cut-out backs, they were also applied to mid-century cut opera coats… in vinyl. A welcome taste of Raf Simons’ wilder side, often effaced among the historical codes of the brand. ‘There is a sense of romance of the fifties, with the experimentation of the sixties and the liberation of the seventies in the collection’, said the designer backstage. If A-line mini dresses in bright red, green and blue tones paired with long crêpe coats and ankle boots were a wink to the Factory years, thigh-high plastic boots (with fantastically over-the-top diamanté heels) and knitted hallucinogenic body-con jumpsuits were a straightforward reference to Kansai Yamamoto’s work for David Bowie during his Ziggy Stardust years (the collection was actually titled Moonage Daydream, and the score – provided by Michel Gaubert – alternated Bowie songs and Japanese Glam rock). All in all (despite the obvious nostalgia that surrounded the whole collection) Simons very definitely proved he is progressively becoming more and more comfortable at the Maison’s Avenue Montaigne ateliers. He also proved that couture in plastic is fantastic.