Christian Dior is one designer that has had a longstanding appreciation and love of flowers, and it shows in his new collection. At the recent Paris Fashion Week, Dior designer Raf Simons revisited that theme with a collection that exploded with blossoms, highlighting their inherent beauty.
Honoring the late Dior
According to The Los Angeles Times, Simons' goal was to create "a tribe of flower women" and alter "the nature of Dior's fashion through a celebration of artificial and real." His floral theme is unexpected, however, as The Guardian noted that the designer has historically been known for his minimalist designs. Vibrant, blossoming flowers, the traditional symbol of femininity and romance, are thus a surprising choice. Still, the news source pointed out that Christian Dior famously took strolls in his Normandy rose garden when he needed ideas. Additionally, he made a habit of adorning a model with a sprig of Lily of the Valley for good luck. Knowing that flowers played a key part in Dior's inspiration, it does make sense that he would make them a focal point.
There may be another reason Simons chose to emphasize this theme as well. The Guardian noted that blooms on such a large scale have the power to strongly impact emotion, meaning the mostly female audience, who tend to naturally connect with flowers, may have been drawn in and moved by the show.
A dramatic twist
Surely, Simons went all-out, extending the idea beyond the actual clothes and incorporating it into the decor. The Guardian reported that the interior felt much like a greenhouse, with white lattice scaffolds surrounding the catwalk adorned with blossoms. From orchids to lilac wisteria and red bougainvillea, there were ropes of colorful vines hanging from the ceiling and draped on every wall. According to The New York Times, there was a mixture of artificial and real blooms. Those that were fake were exaggerated to look over-the-top with thick layers of glossy paint. The news outlet explained that the resulting look was a somewhat dark and dramatic take on flowers, as opposed to a fairytale garden. This was a purposeful effect, as Simons stated he wanted "a harder attitude."
He also made this intention clear with a note that he left on the seat of every audience member.
"This collection is the idea of twisting, turning and pushing Dior; where the lyrically romantic becomes dangerous; a beautiful rose garden becomes poisonous," it read, The Guardian reports.
One way he achieved this was by incorporating edgier, more daring pieces with the cheerful floral prints. For example, a leather jacket and lingerie-esque top leant toughness to a flowery dress. On another gown, blooming prints were broken up with cryptic phrases like "hyperreality in the daytime," and "the ultraviolet mouth." The Guardian compared his construction of patterns to cross-pollination, pointed to a harsh pitch-black coat dress that featured stripes of striking pink and orange flowers in the back. These dramatic contrasts in color, cut, fabric and print all made for a highly unusual and memorable collection.
Typically, after a model walks down the runway in the final ensemble, the rest of them return for a review lap. However, Simons utilized these last moments of the show for a different purpose. The Guardian explained that audience members may have been left wondering if these whimsical outfits could possibly be real, and just then, Simons brought out his cast of models in completely new outfits. This alternate collection included a series of pieces that Dior is known for, such as perfectly tailored day-wear and traditionally elegant evening gowns "so that fantasy and reality, the catwalk and the commercial, blurred into one."