A tropical hothouse greeted guests at Dior. Set in the gardens of the Rodin Museum, exotic orchids and gloriously coloured vines both real and artificial cascaded down from metal scaffolding, creating a surreal pleasure garden. The set was an ‘experimental habitation of the new flower woman, a place of hyper-reality and artificiality, yet strangely grounded amongst the natural and the everyday’, said the show notes.
A tribe of flower women? The mind boggled: What new breed of Dior woman? Genetically modified? A Traveller, Transformer and Transporter, according to Artistic Director Raf Simons: ‘I wanted a sense of a particular group of women, a distinct new tribe, sophisticated and savage at the same time,’ he explained. ‘I wanted to feel that you wouldn’t know quite where these women were coming from and where they were going to, that they exist in a new place of change and possibility.’
The result of all this was his boldest story yet for Dior. This was Raf being Raf, as opposed to Raf’s Rafness being squeezed by the self-imposed restrictions of the weighty heritage of the house. It was a delight to watch as the Dior classics – the curvy black Bar jacket for example - was spliced and dissected; skirts and shorts were cross-pollinated exposing fine floral print pleats; slices of flesh were exposed on the backs of jackets revealing running vests of jet sequins; fine knitwear was given the hourglass treatment.
‘Traveller’ signified exploration, depicted through the use of badges, like college blazer insignia’s, worn on the chest of tuxedos or the finale silver jacquard prom dresses; ‘Transformer’ meant that the existing ideas of Dior had transformed and moved on – take the looped and pleated ribbon dresses, the only piece taken directly from the house’s archive but gloriously modernised here; and ‘Transporter’ was portrayed in the group of dresses with ticker-tape like messaging that wound around the body, complete with bizarre phrases like ‘THE ULTRA VIOLET MOMENT’. A fitting slogan for this beautiful collection rammed full of powerful ideas that ultimately translated into sensational clothes.