Only 72 hours ago I was watching the documentary movie ‘Dior and I’. An insightful and mesmeric film, it brings the viewer inside the acclaimed and legendary world of the Christian Dior fashion house, and gives a rare behind-the-scenes insight into the appointing of Raf Simons as new creative director of Dior, and the journey taken to the creation of his first haute couture collection.
Director Frédéric Tcheng assembles the pieces of the puzzle in the film with skill, and brings the past and the future together in one frame, using some of the founder’s own words from the 1940’s as a narrative voice-over – almost like an authoritative ghost – who uncannily went through some of the same anxieties Simons experiences in the film.
Now just three days after this incisive production caused my love and respect for this man’s work to escalate to a proportion greater than ever, it has been revealed Raf Simons has stepped down as creative director of Christian Dior.
He was the person responsible for seeing the brand move into a more modernist nature and direction, whilst keeping the heart and soul of the fashion house true to itself and it’s tradition. He brought fresh materials and contemporary shapes to Dior’s classic designs, and is rightfully to be credited with pushing the heritage couture house into the 21st century: not a bad feat after only 3 and a half years work.
Simons’ successor is yet to be named, so Dior can now set about in search of a suitable replacement. Raf says his decision was “based entirely and equally on my desire to focus on other interests in my life, including my own brand, and the passions that drive me outside of my work.”
He also brought a more personal renewal of the brand after the potentially damaging and very public firing of previous creative director John Galliano in 2011, after a video emerged portraying his anti-Semitic outburst in a Paris café. Partially thanks to Simons influence the brand managed to rebound unscathed.
“Raf was the calm after the storm” Marigay McKee said, a luxury consultant and the former president of Saks Fifth Avenue.
A reflection of the last three years at Dior:
SS’13 – The Debut
A beautiful balance between embroidered sheer fabrics and updated tailoring. Makeup is eccentric and bejewelled which I love. Sheer embroidered gloves are a brilliant addition.
A continuation on sheer fabrics and jewelled makeup whilst using richer fabrics and colours and incorporating leather for autumn. The makeup is an artwork in itself.
Golden brows – this is one of my favourite catwalk makeup looks of all time, and I wish it was possible to get away with this in everyday life. SS’14 was all about cutout chiffon lightweight fabrics, pastel shades offset with grey, black, and metallic make up.
This is still my all time favourite Dior collection, and perhaps even collection of all time. High leg PVC boots made an impact in the show, with scaffold-like block metal heels. Simons combined classic shapes and embroidery and layered them with patterned acetate coats. It modernises the sometimes too quaint, and some would say slightly prissy pastel florals and embroideries Dior often shows for Spring, and made it up-to-date and interesting.
Rich colours and fabrics, velvet, – navy was the colour of Dior AW15.
SS’16 – The Finale
Mesh and modern architectural shapes – Simons goes out in style.