Shut the Front Dior!

So in the few days since Paris week ended, it has been said that in “one fell swoop Raf Simons redefined what modern is for the House of Christian Dior.” I agree that his designs were not sci-fi futuristic or normcore anodyne, but rather more of an incredible collection that continued on from where his couture show started off in July…giving us historical clothes and references like we’ve never seen them before. The models had a messy part, wavy long hair and sticker eyeliner in differing soft pastel shades.

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The truth is, fashion has gone so wacky in the last few decades, that simple, good old-fashioned tailoring, embroidery, covered buttons, tweeds, quality fabrics have been relegated to shelves of our libraries and our grandmother’s minds. My Nana, the true inspiration of HauteAngel, who taught me how to sew from a pattern, crochet, toll paint, draw, cross stitch, embroider, quilt, cook along with so many other “womanly” things to do, would have truly appreciated this line more than any fashion week had to offer. Because of all she taught me, I savored Simons’ line all the more.

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So, what is modern?  “It was an idea of confronting what people now think is an aesthetic that is modern – it felt more modern to go to the far past, not the ‘modernised’ look of the last decade.” In doing so, Simons managed to make history look new and modern look old. Never have frock coats, tapestried-cuffs, or turn-ups looked so appealing, relevant and real.

From the 18th century onward, Simons looked backward for forward inspiration and concluded with the birth of a collection that somehow managed to combine the regal French court with uniforms of pilots, astronauts, school girls and skaters, all the while making the meld of it cool, utterly desirable and leaving the audience wanting more. But then, what true fashion aficionado doesn’t recognize the art of tailoring.

Courtly long coats emblazoned with gorgeous embroidery on rich cerise’s and marigold’s were paired with shorts.

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The iconic “Bar” suit with its sloped shoulders, articulated bust, nipped waist, and padded hips were instead punctuated with poppers instead of buttons on the hip, along with high Edwardian collars.  Vest-topped dresses that revived his full skirt and top combinations from his first couture season.

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The show, which was in the Louvre’s Cour Carrée, the ancient heart of an ancient palace, a mirrored tent was erected, perfectly rendering its environment in such a way that the tent was invisible. It was like the present had ceased to exist. An appropriate cue for the collection that Raf Simons showed, in which the 18th century and the 22nd century knocked boots, bypassing everything in between. The effect was compounded by the futuristic whooshing on the soundtrack of strange, spacey music.

The languid night dresses were too polygamist for my taste and a low of the collection:

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THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS:

Many gorgeous leather-laced jackets belted on an empire waistline brought the level up. Many flashes of rich embroidery can be seen in the more candid photographs. This was everything and more, and on paper probably shouldn’t have made sense. Yet it did – it was a revelation.

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“The challenge was to bring the attitude of contemporary reality to something very historical; bringing easiness to something that could be perceived as theatrical,” elaborated Simons. “It is the attitude that matters.”

There was drama, there was character and there was fantasy here – a collection that will appeal to Dior customers old and new (everyone’s wearing those bejewelled couture trainers of his right now). And there was tangibility.

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There were a lot of negative comments about this show online and I only take that to mean many people don’t realize what it takes to produce this kind of quality work. It may mean people don’t think it’s inspired.

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But all trends are typically set by others first and Dior has certainly set many first. This line is beautiful and will do well. Love, HauteAngel

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