From the revolutionary, Carmel Snow-christened “New Look” conjured by the late Monsieur Dior to dreamy confections by John Galliano, the Lady Dior we know today has evolved into a contemporary fashion maven who emphasises practicality and functionality without forsaking the maison’s storied codes of design.
Maybe she has a prolific career and an optimistic future, yet she is not afraid of flaunting her femaleness through clothes that are made to reflect who she really is, inside and out.
Within the avant-garde setting of Le Palais Bulles or the Bubble Palace in Cannes, a stellar crowd of fashion editors, journalists, buyers and iconic guests such as Marion Cotillard, Pierre Cardin, Dakota Fanning, Zoë Kravitz, Chiara Mastroianni, Aymeline Valade, Lucie de la Falaise and Caroline Issa gathered to witness the new Cruise 2015 collection by Simons for the maison.
An extraordinary architectural marvel and also the preferred residence of revered French couturier Pierre Cardin, the masterpiece of architect Antti Lovag provided a perfect setting that runs along the lines of the Belgian design maestro’s current vision of Dior.
For the Cruise collection, Raf Simons did not go too far from the maison’s home soil. The setting of inspiration for Dior Cruise 2015 collection is right at the French Riviera in the South of France.
Once an idyllic coastal region inhabited by fishermen, the Mediterranean coastline was catapulted to instant global stardom when international jetsetters began to dock their yachts, build their holiday homes and live their “dolce vita” around the perimeters of its azure, clear waters in the later part of the 20th century.
Perhaps due to its warm and sunny climate as well as the melange of cultures that made up the inhabitants of the region, Southern France seems to possess a unique style that mirrors its laidback nature. Nipped or wasp waist, one of the key elements of Dior New Look, serves as a prominent feature in the collection.
Flattering feminine silhouette, the smart nipping forms a true hourglass shape that comfortably conforms to the wearer’s body. Furthermore, the wasp waist approach too provides great illusion of a smartly lengthened body to the wearer.
Another elemental highlight within this collection is the application of technical pleats that provide elusive asymmetrical volume to the pieces. Though the pleats may look crisp at a glance, Simons skilfully shaped them to look as soft and womanly as possible.
For example, the checked cotton jacket with soft-edged pleats complement well with effortless hourglass silhouette and the minimal billowed long sleeves, resulting a unique, origami-like creation. He also adds billowed triangular folds to the sides of the dresses’ skirts, purveying voluminous yet modern illusions to the looks.
Like a design trademark of sorts, Simons mishmashes a variety of technology-driven materials with traditional fabrics such as silk taffeta, wool, cotton, rubber and knitted tweed, lurex, and guipure, just to list a few and doused them with working palettes comprising hues such as orange, plum, brown, navy blue, pink and monotonous black and white with traditional gingham and digital pop art-esque prints.
Adding superb artistic allure to the pieces, especially the skirts, is the application of intricate detailing such as frays, macramé appliques, perforations and curled hemlines resembling a blooming flower – a sweet reference to the late Monsieur Dior’s profound love for flowers.
As Cruise is all about lightness and liberty, the collection is also replete with translucent pieces crafted out of materials such as black net top, embroidered off white net top, turquoise knitted net top and a black knitted net skirt, as well as the dramatic knitted mixed fur dress in black and dark navy.
To complement the ready-to-wear looks were handbags splashed in jolting hues and patterns, graphic earrings and patchwork footwear that serve as the new paragons of freshness and lightness to the maison.
The iconic Lady Dior bag crafted in lush black crocodile is given a punkish approach with neon orange tint within the cracks; fabric booties are laden in oriental foliage graphic prints; leather bucket bags in whitewash and black are emblazoned with graphic leather appliques; and mixed fur and net stole in dazzling amalgamation of bright, acidic yellow with muted grey and black.
The Dior Cruise 2016 ready-to-wear and accessories collection will be arriving at Dior stores worldwide at the fourth quarter of the year.
*Photos courtesy of Dior
Dior – G28, Indulge Floor, Starhill Gallery, 181 Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur.