Friday, 13 April 2012

Riff Raf


I think it's fairly safe to say that we won't see Raf Simons dressed as a pirate, strutting down the catwalk to a round of applause. We probably won't see the elaborate costumery, the novelty stage make-up or the camp theatrics, but I hope that doesn't mean we're going to lose the drama at Dior.

Raf's appointment at Dior is set to mark a return to the timeless feminine aesthetic that the brand first shaped and came to epitomise in the late 1940s. Simons will likely marry his minimalist affection with the label's signature imagination to write a new chapter in the Dior story.

The race to the Dior throne has been a twisted one since it was left vacant last March. And 44-year-old Raf never seemed the obvious successor. The former creative director for Jil Sander trained in furniture and industrial design before conceiving his own menswear label in 1995. With a back-catalogue of sleek tailoring and unpretentious androgyny, his no frills approach seemed incompatible with Galliano's showman legacy.

Anna Wintour once said that fashion is about looking forward. Every season, we search for innovation and reinvention to signify that the industry has promise and potential. Holding onto Galliano's coattails would only imprison Dior in 2010 and leave it looking very dated. As a couture virgin, Raf is a blank-canvas with the talent and dexterity to break the chains. He can help the brand start anew and help us forget the mess that Bill Gaytten left in Galliano's wake.

Raf Simon's will debut for Dior during the Couture collection in July.

"I'm interested in creativity, the evolution of creativity and the relationship between creativity and the times we live in. When I'm married to a house, I will fully embrace its original intention, its original heritage and meaning. I wouldn't go to that place if I only had minimalism in mind. I'm very aware of what the environment is about."

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