Raf Simons knows that to be in Dior under his watch — whether at the hand of couture or otherwise — is to simultaneously sit in the most pared down, comfortable version of couture and the most mentionably dazzling of quotidian-to-wear.
On tap yesterday were eight installments of different motifs. They were separated with groups of models who emerged in sets from two sliding doors at opposite ends of a small room decorated by thousands of orchids at the Musée Rodin where, in what appears to be a quiet effort to blur the lines between his ready-to-wear and couture presentations, he shows every season.
A classical melody interrupted by manic flight instructions and the sound of dropping airplanes opened the show next to a series of pastel satin ankle length dresses — some sleeved, some not, all featuring quiet details and prints — that put Kim Kardashian’s back end to shame, packed with horse hair and tulle and whatever else would make for a dramatic rear-view sighting.
Following were a set of five faille flight suits and countering tea-length dresses where, no doubt, the hand-crafted artisanship could not go overlooked (the embellishments! The zippers! The lines!). These were vaguely inspired by the Far East, underlining an important sense of refrain that pronounces its best features at couture.
The third set included floor length coats — these could have stood solitarily as dresses. Under them, bright colored pants peeked out in true Simons spirit. The fourth set, a series of mini skirts and blouses, seemed manufactured for the Dior girl who’s on the brink of passing up readymade for made-to-order.
There were black turtlenecks with satin, embellished coats. These harkened back to the oriental underpinnings in the earlier flight suits. There were additional tea length dresses. These were worn with bright pumps and booties, all of which featured Simons’ signature curve heel.
There were blanket collar coats and to close, there were simply lovely dresses. If Simons had come in like a lion with his architectural, Sir Mix-a-Lot wows, he was, with his flimsy closing looks, exiting like a lamb. This progression from ornamental, grand, truly old-world glamour to the spectacularly easiest-to-wear mirrored the way he must feel about couture. While the lavish might still exist — we might even still need it — there is a baseline understanding that what is lavish is a remnant from a world we no longer occupy. So we’ll honor it, yes, but we’ve got places to be and frankly speaking, we need clothes to wear.