What Makes Dior Good
And what makes “good” good?
Something that seems consistently true of Raf Simons, who has now been at the helm of Dior three fall seasons strong, is that the man loves color. He likes to dress his woman vibrantly. This was true at Jil Sander, a house built on minimalism, too. Why? Because any woman bold enough to wear Dior by Raf plays a leading role in her own life and when she walks into a room, you know she’s there.
The clothes are loud and yet you get the sense that even in spite of that, they whisper.
I am particularly drawn to his use of color as filtered through his more traditional but rich use of grey and black and beige because during this Philo-elicited era, which we can conceivably called The Dark Ages, it’s refreshing to see such opulence.
I suppose that’s mostly because the other thing that seems consistently true of Raf Simons is that he makes good clothes. They don’t have to be “on trend,” they don’t have to be thematic. They certainly don’t play tricks and if you look hard enough, you can find the several decade-old references to Dior-and-beyond. But if you don’t want to look, that’s fine too. You don’t have to. What you’re staring at, after all, is plainly a collection of solid garments.
The show opened softly with black, grey, camel and salmon colored jackets replete with white stitching at rib length. Slowly, color emerged. First as a cerulean throw held over the arm, a bright long red blanket scarf wrapped around one neck, yellow and green mink arm dusters and then what could have been the bravura: an uneven hemmed canary yellow dropped shoulder dress (which appeared like an overlay to a plain white sleeveless crew neck dress) and similar versions (in electric blue and blood orange, watermelon pink and green, respectively).
But the color palette went back before it steered bright again, and by the time the finale looks emerged — three embellished gowns uncannily akin to the ones Simons showed for couture — the question on my mind (which was initially: does a collection need to be inspired by one, divisive thing, to become another?) became: was the line that demarcates couture from ready-to-wear being blurred deliberately? Does it matter?
Like I said, good clothes are good clothes. It’s that simple.