Sometimes, in order to move forward, one must reflect on past. Reflect is a strong word in this sense, because to be preoccupied with the history of something won’t help create its future. This case is prominent in the Christian Dior Fall/Winter 2014 collection, where designer Raf Simons has further proved his allegiance to the modern woman. Critics are quick to denounce Simons’ ability to grace the boundary of modernity, that he is too preoccupied with the history of Dior and monotonously bringing that history back to life. They say these things as if Simons knows nothing of the history of Dior or his vision of the house’s future. I’m sure at such a high prestige, Simons has done both his homework and extra credit.
“I was interested in the process of finding something extremely modern, through something very historical; particularly through a juxtaposition of different themes. The historical inspiration is not the justification of the collection, it isn’t its entire meaning. What I was attracted to was an idea of architectural construction – that is a very Dior attitude – and how the foundations of one era are based on another, how the future is based on the past; that is what I found fascinating. I started to think ‘what is modern?’ I wanted to deal with a form language that looks to be almost the opposite of my original inspiration at Dior. It was an idea of confronting what people now think is an aesthetic that is modern – it felt more modern to go to the far past, not the ‘modernized‘ look of the last decade. The challenge was to bring the attitude of contemporary reality to something very historical.” -Raf Simons
In this collection, Simons reflects on 8 phases of history. Some of these variations of their antecedents include Marie Antoinette ball gowns, jazz-age flappers dresses, pilot flight suits and astronaut spacesuits. Instead of recreating these quintessential fashions with a new flare, Simons reimagines their entire entity, a futuristic approach to say the least, and channels his vision into light and dreamy clothing for a twenty-first-century client. In Simons’ case, he takes one step backwards to take 10 steps forwards.
These designs are a proper example of couture that is flexible enough to be worn on multiple occasions. Thus, Simons proves the point that “true luxury is spending five or six figures and wearing something not once or twice, but incorporating it into your daily wardrobe” (Style.com).
150,000 white orchids, or in this case, diorchids, lined the wall creating a homage to elegance and exoticness. The spaceship-like shape of the venue looked like something out of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, complete with neon-white lights protruding from the floor, creating an alien-eqsue atmosphere. The clothes were abstract and geometric. They contained pure volume, as if blown up effortlessly like a hot air balloon. The astronaut theme was a symbol of exploration for Simons. He diverged into the past and used his impressions of the future to define what it means to “be modern in the contemporary haute couture world today” (Dior).
‘The series focuses on the clothing that women think they should wear, or are told what to wear, to impress someone in a sexual manner. There is a physical mark that is left from these clothes, showing the discomfort women go through.’