Christian Dior Couture Fall Winter 2012 Paris

“I feel good,” said a smiling Raf Simons as he sipped on a Coke after his debut Christian Dior haute couture collection. And so he should be. The designer went back to the drawing board with this collection reexamining the most famous of all the Dior fashion shows the 1947 “New Look” collection and the iconic “the Bar” ensemble.

The sculptured curves of “the Bar” jacket were unmistakable in the all black tuxedo that opened the show. A very interesting and clever choice by Simons as it also hinted at the link the house has to Yves Saint Laurent. Also within those first five all black looks there was a subtle nod, in the reinforced bra cup, to John Galliano who had a particular fondness for the enhanced bosom look.

Once those exits were out of the way Simons stepped things up a notch and started to experiment. Playing with volume and proportion he crafted what were the equivalent of mini ball gowns delicately embroidered in floral motifs and paired them with slim pants. The beautiful patterns of these tops seamlessly echoed the impressive walls of flowers that consisted the show’s backdrop.

From there the designer continued to play in an architectural way with the clothing. Hourglass jackets and dresses came with wide metal bands as belts, statement choker necklaces, gossamer knit gloves linked together at the back and pointy toed metallic high heels. One particular standout dress showed how Simons is already starting to rethink the standard usage of embellishments. A black bustier dress was covered in what at first glance looked to be blue circles of beading but upon closer inspection were actually two halves of the whole perfectly lined up on a knife pleated full skirt.

What was crucial in this collection was that Simons did not loose himself within the heritage of such a prestigious house. And while the designer did quite a lot of looking back with this collection there were also glimpses of where he will take this brand in the future. Bi-polar dresses covered in one shade of beadwork at the front and another at the back looked to be a new hallmark for the house. So too did the moody abstract cloudy sky print. While a long fluid red dress that revealed itself to be finished in a pair of pants at the back hit the new blurring of the sexes trend right on the nose.

It was an unforgettable fashion moment from which Simons came out the other side smelling like a rose.

-Jessica Michault