Time to eat some Crow. I take back every Single Bad Thing I have said about Raf Simons! He proved beyond any Comprehension how Vast his Talent is with the Fall 2014 Couture Collection for Dior. It was an Epic of Sweeping Scope and Intellectual Breadth that was one of those few occasions in Fashion where you FEEL it more than Understand it. This Resonated like a Shotgun in a Crowded room! Simons took us on a trip to some place, some Undiscovered Country, where only Fashion Existed. Time had no meaning, Decades, Centuries, Eons perhaps, Converged in this Gleaming, Futuristic Orchid Laden Amphitheatre (Would there be any other Flower in such a space other than the Haughty, Imperious, Cold, Detached Orchid? Roses would be too Robust for such a Sterile, Clinical Space!)
Simons Technique was what was so Distractingly Reverberating. These clothes were Intelligent and Flawless. Executed with Maniacal Precision. Simons was "Curious" As to how Different time periods can and DO influence Subsequent ones. And in this case, Vice Versa. He also wondered how his work would be informed had he been designing during the Belle Epoque, A period Monsieur Dior was Fascinated with. Simons got into thinking "What would he be excited about?" if he had lived in the Beautiful Age?
Starting with the Rococo Shapes of the 18th Century, Pannier shapes gave the opening octet of dresses Swaying roundness to there skirts but offered freedom with none of the Rib-Crushing Spine-Attenuating Rigidity of Corsets. Not less important either, In Simons' hands the Panniers were Light, Modern, Dare One Say, Urban? One could see these dresses as much for Day as for Evening and that is where Simons' Real Magic lay. He took a Silhouette that has, in the now, associations as an Evening Only option and Reconfigured it back to it's original form of being the clothes worn For Day AND Night and made a Pretty Convincing Damn argument for a Lady to traverse the Modern Day world in a Pannier Flared skirt! That's Some Kind of Magic There, Buddy!
Simons Traipsed next to the Future Via the 60's with his take on Astronauts Space Suits. Which mayhaps, was the most surprisingly touching moment in the whole show. There was a Naivete, An Innocence to these pieces that we have lost in this Modern Day Society of Interconnectedness Via technology. Here was the Burgeoning of all things Modern, but still we had not the Jadedness of now. To see how Raf Took the Past and shuttled us to a Future that instead of being Cold and Bleak, Was Sweet, Charming, Naif with it's Pastel floral embroideries with a Baroque flair, Brought tears to my eyes for the Insouciance of such Radical and Considered thinking. I fell in Love in that Moment, Right then, with Raf! It was Poignant, Wistful, Melancholic. Maybe even... Optimistic!
Then we were off to... Well One hasn't really an Idea of Where. Maybe it was Now. Simons' idea of the Modern Dior woman and her wearing Orthodox Plain Clothes but in Deceptively lovely materials. There was something Perversely Everyday about this section with it's Orgasmically Fabulous Long lean Coats, Especially The FURS! There was something Arousing how one could Firstly, see someone in Couture going so Balls-Out for DAY WEAR and making it look as Couture as the Confections, Secondly, For how in his Time-Travel Machine, Simons not only looked to other periods, he looked to the other names that Preceded him... here there was a Undoubted reference to Gianfranco Ferre and his Heyday at Dior. Look at those Long Fur coats and Sleek pants and tell me you don't see Ferre?
Don't Believe me.... In the "Bar Jacket" Section that would come up next to last, The Off-The-Shoulder Enormous Collars on the Jackets and Coats... Simons was Conjuring Up Galliano's Second Couture Collection for the House. Slap a Neck Straining Ndebele Necklace on one of those girls and Shrink the waist in... TA-DAAAAA! Even the Embroidered Court Jackets were a Mashing up of Ferre and Galliano and Even Marc Bohan to some degree. This was the most Exceptionally Beautiful Section of the whole affair. Those embellishments were Undeniably Heart Stopping Exquisite! The Black with the Pink and Gold... Words Fail. The Mint Green Broadtail with the Lime Jello Green Crystals... I DIE! It was Too MUCH! Just So Special!
It was in the last Section though, Where Raf Pulled a Fast one and got it by most everyone and slyly, Secretly Made a Circular Reference that few caught. These Filmy Dreams were Simons' Call back to the beginning of the show. It was HIS Synthesis of Rococo for now. Now that he had Modernized the Pannier and made it an accessible option for Daytime, Here he was bringing it back to Evening but in the Lightest, most Ephemeral way possible. Where as the Pannier Silhouettes were starved for adornment, here, In his modern way, he Highlighted it on these final Quintet, Also, these dresses achieved Billowy Volume without the use of a Pannier, but had the 21st Century look of a Pannier! The Marine Blue one on Grace Mahary had me Salivating, SO GOOD!
As the models strode through for their Final Pass, Something Revalatory happened. One seeing all the pieces stride through the Show Space... how these outfits seen all together, didn't seem at all Disparate. They seemed as if they were all part of the same Dialogue, just different aspects of it, Perhaps that is why Simons Isolated each section to itself, So when the Final look at all of them together one would realize that Simons didn't Concoct Tableaux, He had created a Entire Wardrobe, Just different aspects of it. In the end, It was Brilliance Exemplified! Simons Stole my heart with this show, I hadn't felt like this about a Show since Spring 2013 Couture and Karl Lagerfeld's Forest Romp for Chanel which Broke my heart with it's Ungodly beauty! This didn't come close to that, but it succeeded on it's own level of making me Weep!
Raf Simons, I Apologize!