You can really see how much Raf Simons loves women. Chiffon sleeves fluttered on a striped satin anorak, whilst latticed patterns on dresses were like peek-a-boo medieval windows. Raf’s mission to make the future romantic continues for S/S 16, and this was one of his most feminine collections to date. Like an alien meteorite which had landed from planet Posy, 300,000 delphiniums imploded to create a floral landslide within the courtyard of the Louvre.
The French impressionist painter Pissaro once said that the Swiss Alps were too pretty a place to paint, and that he’d rather put his brushes to work on the less obvious beauty of a muddy track, as it cuts through hedgerows and alongside fields. Raf Simons took the chocolate box out of the picture too by cutting the collection’s prettiness with lots of strong black jackets. Very reminiscent of his debut couture collection at Christian Dior, where he put black pants with mini ball gowns, the minimalist in him ensures a Lang-seque black suit is never far away. Raf understands a woman. He understands that she is at once feminine and sensitive, yet at the same time she also has work to do.
A cloud cotton layer peeped between the razor edge split of a short black skirt, and a petticoat primness was present. The black shoes also added a strict quality. Petticoats, strictness modesty and romance, there was a Victorian sub-narrative coming through. Raf Simons chatted in the show notes about wanting to take a look at a futuristic take on the Victorian era, so this all made sense. We have seen elements of this also at Prada, where girls’ necks were covered with macramé shawls. Necks here were covered too, here most often with micro snood collars with dangling glass pendants. One look created the ultimate Victorian portrait: a black v-neck knit was layered over a white lace ruffed neckline. Pretty as a picture.
This season, Raf really wanted the girls to explore the great outdoors. Raf said this season that he 'wanted to look at something rougher and more natural than the garden'. Dior’s A/W 15 campaign already has girls sitting on cliff tops, but this season he was heading for the skies. Shetland knits and Bauhaus inflected Fair Isle jumpers were rendered in streamline top-heavy silhouettes, whilst like flat linear clouds, cotton scalloped shorts and cropped vests were angelic and modest yet sporty and brief. Anoraks and safari jackets were stripped back, prettified with pleats or bejeweled with sparkling floral appliqués. A hybrid approach saw zips and technical details sharpen items such as blouson jackets, and offered satin anoraks which you would happily wear as a dress. Raf Simons was literally bringing the outdoors inside.
After the show, whilst leaving through the archway of delphiniums, one gentleman was heard asking another: ‘does that woman even exist?’ The fragrance of the flowers answered with a resounding yes. If nature exists, so does this woman. Raf Simons is one visionary who metaphysically blends our world, to remind us of our inner potential as humans.
Attendees were gifted Dior Addict lipsticks, as we left the gates. This item – its name and advertising campaign – almost belongs to another brand, and another time, where luxury seemed more aggressive. I can’t wait for his more sensitive vision to reach the Dior world of fragrance and for it to become fully integrated across the entire Christian Dior brand. Raf Simons not only has his finger on the pulse of the now and next, like no other, he is designing from his soul. He made a love heart sign, with his hands, as he took his bow. Ditto Raf, we love you right back.