Talk about drama. Given Dior’s yearlong hunt to fill the role of creative director, the scandal that had opened the position in the first place and Raf Simons’ blockbuster finale for Jil Sander punctuating what was, in effect, his unceremonious, bizarre firing, the designer’s Dior show on Friday afternoon would prove the most eagerly awaited ready-to-wear debut at a major house in years.
Well worth every drop of anticipation and every second of the wait, Simons blew past expectations. In 14 dazzling minutes (albeit with lots of intense work prior), he thrust Dior into a place it hasn’t been in some time, a place where clothes count as more than glossy foils around which to explode cash-cow accessories and beauty businesses. This collection pulsed with that Holy-Grail fusion of currency and cool.
It’s difficult to imagine Simons’ emotions during the prelude to the big event. If at all unnerved, he gave no indication in a preshow conversation with WWD. Unlike his open, bright white front-of-house, Simons’ private salon backstage was tented in black and fitted with a dark sofa and a pair of chairs. Calm but animated, the designer was open about his thought process coming into Dior and declared his exit from Sander “so out of my system.” He also took issue with past characteristics of himself as a minimalist.
“Everyone thought I was a minimalist,” Simons noted of his tenure at Sander. “I love minimalism. There will often be that kind of aesthetic; that kind of concept will be very often a part of my world. But it’s not the only thing that I’m interested in.”
He would soon illustrate that point in a collection that established Dior’s new baseline: controlled but decorative, feminine, sensual. And, to use his word, “liberating,” a concept he insisted was first brought to the house by its founder.
While by today’s standards the New Look hardly seems liberating, Simons begged to differ. “Mr. Christian Dior was giving a reaction to the aesthetic of the moment, which was a restrictive aesthetic,” he argued. “He brought fantasy again, and the whole idea about sensuality and the female body. And [the focus on] the waist, and the hip and the breast. It was a way of freeing up from a certain kind of restriction.”
Simons wants to wave the freedom flag as well. While he considers the current rush of minimalism often attractive and “probably necessary,” he identified a lack of forward motion resulting in too-familiar clothes and a mundane dilution of the original concept. “Why does it look so related to what it was in the Nineties? That’s my question. Why is it so much white cotton shirting [buttoned] up to the neck? And why do I not see sex, and why do I not see fun in that world, and why do I not see movement in that world? And why do I not see the female body in that world? I think it’s interesting to bring part [of minimalism] into the world of Dior, but I also want to make it very sensual and sexual and very free. Liberated is probably the most important message.”
In the lead-up to this show, Simons immersed himself in the house archives and pondered how to best achieve such integration. In fact, he had a considerable head start. Beginning with his “couture” collection for Sander several seasons ago, he had begun to incorporate more obvious flourish into his work. For Dior, he liked the notion of a futuristic spin, not only in the expected (from him) intellectual sense of constant forward projection, but in the more playful fashion sense, through a Sixties lens.
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion