Raf Simons to Dior: What to Expect…?

Posted by Zina Tasreen
April 13, 2012

#RafSimonsforDior ‒ Can. Not. Wait.

Raf Simons goes to Dior. Finally. The most influential designer of our times goes to the most revered of fashion houses. A seismic appointment we’re talking about here, one which could very well dictate the fashion narrative of this decade (and beyond). So friends, rather girlfriends (Kris Van Assche will still be helming Dior Homme), allow me to fill you in on this significant rendezvous, and what you can expect from it… :-)

Raf Simons for Jil Sander from Spring/Summer 2006 ‒ Autumn/Winter 2012

Jil Sander Spring/Summer 2008: Colour-blocking, anyone?

Jil Sander Autumn/Winter 2008

I love Raf Simons ‒ to bits. I love that he designs keeping modern, real women in mind. I love that his ideas look subtle. I love that his stuff are utterly wearable and rooted in practicality ‒ and yet so chic, feminine and romantic. Not to forget, crucially, easily imitable.

Jil Sander Autumn/Winter 2009: Just look what Raf has done with the LBD… <3

Jil Sander Autumn/Winter 2009: Still in love with this collection…

Let me just say that his creations speak to me. Him along with Azzedine Alaïa and Tom Ford (AS IF that needed saying…) are my *absolute* favourite designers.

Jil Sander Spring/Summer 2011: Raf’s seminal collection, where he played around with classic couture shapes by using modern fabrics and bright/neon colours

Jil Sander Spring/Summer 2011: The trend-setting collection

That’s me waxing lyrical. But the decisive players in fashion, i.e. editors and buyers, regard him as highly, too. He’s credited for many a trends; the ubiquity of neon currently is his doing, I’m afraid. Almost like an “Inception” he’d put out an idea, then in the following seasons we’d see other designers interpreting it in their own way and collectively pushing the agenda, and from there the high street would take things forward. His Spring/Summer 2011 collection for Jil Sander was a neon explosion, and ‒ hey! ‒ in Spring/Summer 2012 (i.e. NOW NOW) it has become THE trend to be sporting. If he could’ve that big an impact from a niche fashion label, imagine what his reach would be as the artistic director of the most scrutinised of fashion houses.

“New Look” gowns by Christian Dior himself (left and centre), and Raf’s interpretation of the silhouette for Jil Sander’s Spring/Summer 2011 collection (right)

Monsieur Dior (white coat) at his atelier commenting on the finish of a “New Look” gown

But how does his aesthetic align to that of maison Dior’s? Quite well, actually, if his fascination for “mid-century fashion, architecture and art” (i.e. Christian Dior’s time) and last few showings for Jil Sander ‒ which were an ultra-modern take on the silhouettes and traditions of couture houses during the heydays of 1950s ‒ are anything to go by. And he’s a romantic too, just like monsieur Dior. So when LVMH’s statement read that Raf’s appointment would “propel [Dior’s] iconic style to the 21st century”, I truly believed it. In an interview with Women’s Wear Daily Raf insisted that “feminism” would be his guiding light at Dior “because it is beautiful, endless and permanent.” “When I’m married to a house, I will fully embrace its original intention, its original heritage and meaning,” he avowed. No “minimalism” spill over there, I suppose. SO, girlfriends, brace yourselves for a new “New Look”!

P.S. I’ve an enormous well of admiration for John Galliano, and I really hope for a happy ending for him, too. Rare genius he is, who made me think of fashion as a dream and an art…


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