As late in the game as it is, we all know this was to be Raf Simons last Haute Couture collection for Dior. Being perfectly frank, I am glad. Simons never really felt right for the job and his collections were always so completely subsumed with Intellectual over thinking and overly indulgent cerebral introspection that they were bogged down by all the psychological elucidating that the one thing missing was the one that was sorely needed... Passion! Passion for the woman wearing the clothes, passion for the sake of passion, passion for the Couture. To Simons, it was always analytical Art Project, he completely divorced the soul of Dior from the house and concentrated on the logic, the mind, and in that, his clothes were great to talk about... However, to wear...??? Another story, indeed!
So here we are, his last gasp at making a statement that would solidify his tenure at Dior in a way that would show him in a better and more celebratory light than his past collections... Perhaps because the decision was only percolating in Simons' mind at the time (July of 2015) and only came to fruition within the days leading up to his last show (October 2015) maybe he hadn't fully committed to leaving and thought there would be more to show as a Couture designer... Maybe he knew all along and this was his last statement, as arch and impertinent as his collections during his short stay at the house all seemingly were. No matter the case, it wasn't the kind of collection that one wants to be remembered for. It wasn't dreadful, in places, it was as stunningly wonderful as anything one could ask for, in others... Outright confusing. More directly, Ugly. Ungainly and Awkward spring to mind also.
Spending inordinate amounts of words and time going over all the things wrong with the collection would be parallel to pointing out the few moments of glory. It's a fool's errand, both. For, the collection just did not cohere in any possible configuration or formation. It felt as lopsided and maladroit as those one sleeved hulking masses Simons called coats. Someone out there will madly, try to make them work, and maybe succeed, but it will be the few and far between that do. Let's put it as pointedly and simplistically as one can... if the Wafer Thin Models parading around in them look as if they were just this side shy of Quasimodo, How are the clients who as much as they would like to think they are model size (and as deflating to their money lined egos this may be) but most certainly ARE NOT, going to look in them? Flat Out Ridiculous!
At every turn, the collection looked as if it had been styled by Lucia di Lammermoor in her mad scene. Simons willfully seemed and always seems, to fight with every fiber of his being against simply designing something... Beautiful. He has to Ponder on it, Futz over it, Re-examine it, Throw in a Intellectual curveball and then, only then, is he happy, Instead of going with his obviously Legion instincts, (partake of the Fall/Winter 2014-2015 Haute Couture collection and WEEP at the Diabolical Loveliness!) He simply doesn't rely on them. He has to THINK about the clothes, and that thinking leads him to travesties like this. The Fucked-Up part? When he does let go and simply, instinctually designs a garment, Bliss is achieved... Take for example Exit No. 46 on Ondria Hardin? A sylph-like gown that from far away, to it's Genius quality, looked like a Rib-knit Tank top fabric under the dead GORGEOUS Floral embroidered bodice. The flowing White gown, as it gained on you, you realize that those "Ribs" were densely embroidered Caviar Pearls, that then released away around the knee and the gown fell into Chiffon panels with striations of those "Ribs" running down them! IMMACULATE! See!? when Simons simply Lightened The Fuck Up... look what he can achieve!
Simons is going to be remembered one way or the other, have Sarah Mower and Tim Blanks and those of their ilk tell the tale, it's going to be a Renaissance and Golden Era for the house, for they couldn't ever see the forest for the trees, for them it was all achingly beautiful and satisfying and breathtaking. Ask anyone else to be nakedly honest, they'll tell you it never really made a lot of sense. It was simply easier to hop on the train of masturbatory praise and orgiastic fawning that the others all seemed deeply entrenched in. To me, It was a blip on the Dior radar that had it's shining moments, but more oft than not, was a period of great hype with nothing more than said hype to show for it. Simons may have had Hieronymus Bosch's "Garden of Earthly Delights" as his starting point, but what transpired was more like Baudelaire's "Fleurs de Mal"