Against nature: the real and the imagined unite in a new synthesis of colour, codes and conceptions of clothing. There is an idea of experimentation in altering the nature of Dior’s fashion through a celebration of the artifi cial and the real this season. Here, for Raf Simons, Artistic Director of Christian Dior, the past collides with the future, ultimately forming a new tribe of fl ower women in a new architecture of clothing for Spring-Summer. “I wanted a sense this season of a particular group of women, a distinct new tribe, sophisticated and savage at the same time,” says Raf Simons. “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.”
Simons defi nes this group of women and their clothing as belonging to three categories: Traveller, Transformer and Transporter. ‘Traveller’ signifi es exploration and is often denoted by the use of badges and insignia; ‘Transformer’ is the existing ideas of Dior transformed and moved on, such as in the looped, pleat, lantern dresses that appear in the collection – they stemmed from the only archival piece that appears this season. ‘Transporter’ is the most transgressive element, interrupting the narrative of Dior with its own story, quite literally in the case of the text dresses that feature. They all go to make Simons new tale, of ‘Trans Dior’. Classic concepts of clothing are genetically modifi ed, their DNA spliced or dissected to form new silhouettes. A "Bar" jacket is cut at the waist; skirts and shorts are cross-pollinated; pleating is used extensively and architecturally to evoke new forms; knits are made feather light, yet strictly structured; a new conception of the ‘hourglass’ silhouette is introduced. The show culminates in a finale, a coming together of Dior past, present and future. In these silver jacquard silhouettes, covered in tiny fl owers, past looks are repeated and reimagined from Raf Simons’ time at Dior. The haute couture is democratised, the past of Mr Christian Dior is made present, and the new sect of fl ower women – each wearing her Dior badge – is imagined as a shimmering vision of the future.
“This collection is the idea of twisting, turning and pushing Dior, where the lyrically romantic becomes dangerous; a beautiful rose garden becomes poisonous,” explains Simons. “So much around Dior is about nature and there is the idea that you can’t change nature. But I wanted to change the very nature of things; that fashion exists as a place of possibility, risk and change.”
A new form of pleasure garden is materialised in the show’s setting. An ordering of the artifi cial and real, the joyful and the sinister, the manmade and the natural, the plants and fl owers are grown from the ceiling and cascade down the structure of scaffolding. This is the experimental habitation of the new fl ower woman, a place of hyperreality and artifi ciality, yet strangely grounded amongst the natural and the everyday.