For his highly anticipated debut at Dior, Raf Simons laid the groundwork for a new look, a new oeuvre, a new era at the house. Summed up, it was: classic with a twist. Whereas John Galliano took inspiration from eccentric historical figures and interim designer Bill Gaytten reworked vintage Dior, Simons—mindful of his role as archivist, artist, and prophet—injected a dose of graphic yet measured modernism in his fall '12 couture collection.
Like the flower-wall backdrop, looks were lavish and abundant. Standouts included a tulip and carrot shaped-skirts were given exaggerated curves and a polished metal belt; a heavily embroidered mini-dress was worn over contrasting black cigarette pants; a pencil skirt and jacket combo was done in solid navy fur, as was an otherwise traditional strapless gown; men's lapels featured prominently, while a tuxedo coattail was squared off and elongated to form a floor-sweeping train; and one bodice, again in all fur, was sculpted into a geometric shape. Some details referenced his own men's show last week, itself a feminized vision of menswear.
Perhaps most extraordinary was a series of tie-dye dresses and an elaborate gown speckled with thousands of sequins, creating a gentle ombre worthy of the French pointillist painter Georges Seurat.