Actually, that’s an uncomfortable and, more to the point, uninteresting comparison to make. Dior is dead – Galliano’s Dior at least. Long live Simons’ Dior. This collection further consolidated the new identity he has forged, rapidly and convincingly, for the label. Indeed, when Simons announced that his intention was “the invention of a new species,” I couldn’t help but relate his grandiose statement to the new species of woman Dior is attracting: younger, tougher, less fixated on the frou-frou. A new breed of customer, for a new kind of clothing.
For winter, that clothing came in animal print. Not traditional, brash stripes or spots, but something mutated and twisted. More than anything else, they resembled moth’s wings, or camouflage perhaps. A series of perforated patent-leather separates resembled glistening reptilian skin, their similarities highlighted when teamed with highly polished crocodile. Other garments were shredded, tears flaying tweed away from the body or chewed it into tattered strips.
Raf Simons is nothing if not ambitious in his intentions, and his inventions, at Christian Dior. But after Miuccia Prada dedicated her collection to genetic modification, scrambling the XX chromosomes and mutating a new kind of femininity from its stereotypical signifiers, it doesn’t seem so out of place for Simons to splice the human with something animal. Actually, it is there in the roots of the house – conservatively manifested, mind. Monsieur Dior loved a bit of leopard-print. The animalistic Dior woman isn’t Simons’ pure invention.
Nevertheless, it has never been quite so beastly before. Meaning that, rather than sanitised and neutered, there was something raw to his Dior woman. It’s arguable how much that relates to the Dior of old, to chi-chi mink coats and panther-painted silk chiffon. Times, however, have changed. Simons outing had an energy and savage grace. It felt modern.
Christian Dior winter wonderland