Ah, the sense of longing, possibility and excitement that invades us every time a new designer takes the helm of a maison. No matter how many times we’ve been through it, we’re still thrilled every time. Monday’s Christian Dior show was no exception, as we walked into a mirrored décor at the Musée Rodin, Dior’s usual couture set. It was the only thing that remained the same after Raf Simons left the brand last October. Without Simons, we knew that the house was operating without a creative head. We also knew that, in the interim, the creative team, headed by Serge Ruffieux and Lucie Meyer, was responsible for the collection.
And why not? Collectives and unknown faces plucked from studios have recently proved to be wonderful recruits. One only needs to look at Alessandro Michele’s work at Gucci. However, Gucci and Dior’s positions are not comparable. Dior, the biggest behemoth in the luxury industry, has constraints such as no one else’s. This, paired with Christian Dior’s relatively small legacy (he only worked for 10 years between 1947 and 1957), leaves designers very little wiggle room. Considering all of this, Ruffieux and Meyer’s efforts were admirable.
The show opened with an off-the-shoulder white wool top paired with an embroidered silk crepe skirt. There was a clear Prada-esque feeling to the ensemble. The good thing is it looked a lot more modern, relaxed and wearable than some of what we’ve previously seen on Dior catwalks. The bad thing? Well, it was Christian, but it looked like Miuccia. Which became even more apparent as the show progressed. A flared Corolle skirt in yellowy cream, a poppy red silk t-shirt superposed by architectural embroidered tops and an oversized camel wool Bar jacket – almost a coat – confirmed this. Which doesn’t mean we wouldn’t want to see more of them. The coat, actually, brought a dash of masculinity that felt incredibly refreshing in the middle of the hyper-femininity and constant filles fleurs discourse of the brand. Other variations on the Bar jacket, most of them in black wool, worked equally well, and definitely better than the frilly long gowns and the lacy patineuse dresses. The show ended in a high note with another Bar coat, proof that the studio has mastered the house codes, if it hasn’t come up with a directional creative vision. Time might change that. Then again, time is the one luxury that Dior can’t afford.