These were just a few of the colors on the Christian Dior fall/winter 2014 catwalk on Friday afternoon: fuchsia, canary yellow, cobalt, emerald green, Yves Klein blue, fluo pink and fire engine red. Shades echoed by a ceiling covered in LED lighting that faded from one hue to another like a futuristic flower garden. And yet this was one of designer Raf Simons’s most reserved, urban and streamlined shows for Dior since he took over the house.
High-octane hues have become a hallmark at Dior during the reign of Raf. But this time, instead of using it for event dressing he wove it - literally, in the case of vibrant lacing cinching the side of outerwear- into the world of the modern working woman.
Tailoring was a key factor in the collection. Simons started the show with a series of well cut wool or flannel suits (with and without sleeves) that were boardroom ready. And when he began to introduce colorful above the knee dresses, they often came damped down with a camel colored, double-breasted coat or one in black cashmere. Each look finished off with sneaker heel hybrid footwear and in a few cases, some clever tailored scarves with a box-pleated hem. Both these accessories will surly be top Dior impulse purchases next season.
“I am attracted to the reality of the urban world and the environment, not just to the leisure world of ‘the moment’ – that world of the event or the party. This Dior woman inhabits both,” said Simons in the show’s press notes.
For the party girls then must have been Simons’s layered colored cocktail dresses that would superimpose, say a curvy fuchsia dress over one in emerald green. Designed in a modern sexy way as if the former was slipping off the shoulders and breaking open at the seems to reveal the later lurking below. Also, the exaggerated hips on a series of fitted dresses that amplified hourglass proportions had a bit of va va voom to them. But the looks in this vivid section of the show that worked the best, were the simplest: an fluid pink A-line tank top dress with an undulating hem that left a leg exposed and its more demure green sister, were standout pieces.
There was a sense of ease about this collection that had been missing in all of Simons’s previous work at the house (although we saw he could do it when he was working his magic at Jil Sander). And it was pleasing to see its return into the designer’s repertoire.