Raf Simons is showing more of himself at Dior, and the view issplendid. While still respecting the codes of the house, for fall Simonsflexed many of his own signatures more obviously than in his debutcollection — a move essential in the evolution of Dior as a storiedhouse with plenty to say to the modern consumer. For starters, his set —countless enormous mirrored spheres reflecting the floor, painted skyblue with fluffy white clouds — recalled the spring 1999 men’s showSimons presented in front of the sphere-shaped La Geode at the “Cité desSciences et de l’Industrie.” This time around, the space enveloped theaudience in a dreamlike world that was a little surrealist, a littleweird and quite mesmerizing.

It also had an arty appeal, which was key. Simons based thecollection on similarities he identified between Christian Dior andhimself, specifically their mutual interest in art and their retroinclinations, which Simons called “a natural falling in love” with apast era. “In [Dior’s] case, it was the Belle Epoque and in my case,midcentury,” he said backstage before the show, sitting in one of thenavy velvet Jean Royère wing chairs that outfitted his elegant makeshiftreceiving room. “It’s not specifically about the era; it’s about theprocess of allowing for yourself the freedom to go back to the period.”This led to the notion of memories and approaching a collection as onemight a scrapbook.

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