The Garden: the literal embodiment of seasonal growth and change. For Spring-Summer Raf Simons, Artistic Director of Christian Dior, focuses on the flux of the natural world tempered by human control and craftsmanship in his Haute Couture collection.
“I wanted to do a very self-explanatory collection this season,” says Simons. “ I wanted it to literally be about the season; to be about the very idea of spring.” The clothing and the women refl ect the passing of time of the season, beginning as the signs of early life and blossoms from the winter ground to the full fl ower and blooming of mid summer. Much of this sense is achieved through a concentration on the exquisite multi-layered fl ower embroidery that increases as the collection continues. It eventually builds to the full fl ower of the balloon-backed dresses, whose careful construction belies a seemingly organic shape, with all ultimately controlled by the supreme craft of the atelier. Silhouettes are in fl ux this season, seemingly fi nding their own forms naturally and yet all expertly tended to and under control. Symmetry is eschewed; layering is embraced, with silhouettes seemingly growing in stages; new fabrications are specially commissioned to give a sense of dynamism and life; simple forms combine with complex constructions; the fl ou and the tailleur – the traditionally distinct dressmaking and tailoring parts of the Couture atelier – at times organically unite in single pieces.
The garden is both the perfect metaphor and setting for the collection. Presented in the Jardin des Tuileries, with all of the multi-layered history this location entails, the garden is both without and within the mirror walls of the show venue. Here, amongst the boxwood hedges and trees of a contemporary ‘jardin a la française’, the models emerge and take their place as the flower garden: a literal embodiment of the Dior ‘flower women’.
“There is a sense of the collection growing and changing from where we started with the Couture last season,” says Raf Simons. “Yet still always with a sense of continuity and reality for the wearer.”