ELLEUK

Catwalk

Christian Dior

This was Raf Simons’ second couture show for the house of Dior. ‘I wanted to do a very self-explanatory collection this season,’ said the designer. ‘I wanted it to literally be about the season; to be about the very idea of spring.’

Outside, however, the high-heeled couture-goers had to navigate winter first; guests were escorted along a pale grey carpet through hazardous slush and flurries of fresh snow by Dior-toting umbrella carriers.

Behind mirrored walls in the Jardin des Tuileries was another garden – all green boxwood hedges and trees – where the models emerged, from under the floor and took their places as the flowers of said garden: with their glossy cropped hair (by Guido) and their crystal-coloured lips (by Pat McGrath) they looked every bit the literal embodiment of the Dior ‘flower women’.

Evoking the passing of the seasons, Simons started out with the last traces of winter in the form of elegant ice-blue and black evening dresses or a midnight blue tuxedo. From there, the collection began – quite literally – to burst into life, blooming with exquisite multi-layered flower embroideries, until finally the full flower arrangements of mid summer blossomed on balloon-backed dresses.

It was as sublime and sophisticated as a Dior show should be. And it provided a full working wardrobe for the Dior Woman – the Dior Couture Woman, that is – who glides from chauffeur driven limo to private jet to Hollywood premier. For in this garden of ‘growth and change’, she will find not just the fairytale gowns or even her ivory wedding dress and bonnet – the type that have long been a Dior couture staple – but, this being Raf Simons’ vision of Dior couture, some absolutely modern clothes to wear too. A poppy silk coat over a nude embroidered bustier and sinuous black tuxedo pants would do nicely for a dinner a deux; a cocktail dress spliced into yellow, white, black and nude – tick - for hosting that charity gala; a flower-embroidered balloon dress would do just the job on the red carpet. All looked as contemporary and light – so light – as they were beautiful and believable.

‘There is a sense of the collection growing and changing from where we started with the Couture last season,’ said Simons, who looked the picture of calm backstage. ‘Yet still always with a sense of continuity and reality for the wearer.’

As for those Dior clients, many of them hurtled backstage afterwards to congratulate the designer – notably, all ages, looking fabulous in Dior. From a towering Sigourney Weaver to Rosamund Pike, Jessica Alba, Noomi Rapace, LeeLee Sobieski, Ruth Wilson, Carole Bouquet and Isabelle Huppert.

The designer was swamped with well-wishers. And so he should be. It was an immaculate job well done.

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