Has the fashion industry’s international game of musical chairs left you spinning this year? Raf went from Jil Sander to Dior after John Galliano’s shock departure, Jil Sander returned to her namesake label, Hedi Slimane replaced Stefano Pilati at Yves Saint Laurent, Christopher Kane finished his Versus tenure and Wang is to succeed Nicolas Ghesquière at Balenciaga. Phew! We understand if you, like us, are a little bit dazed and confused about what’s to come from these designers and their new fashion houses… Will Dior now have Jil Sander’s strict minimalism? Can Wang’s street-cool streetwear be replacing Balenciaga’s boundary-pushing aesthetic?
One of Raf's early Dior signatures - the full ankle-grazer skirt silhouette.
This is something that Dior’s creative director, Raf Simons, certainly has on his mind right now. Two seasons in and the Belgian furniture-designer-turned-fashion-createur has already started to confidently carve out a new (new) look for Dior, one that has fashion editors smitten and chic A-listers like Marion Cotillard and Jennifer Lawrence already red-carpeting, but he’s feeling like the signature hasn’t been nailed yet. And so he’s looking to the instantly recognisable DNA of Chanel for inspiration on how to build it. “The Chanel woman? I don’t even need to see [her], I smell her from round the corner, but I don’t recognise the Dior woman. I want to work on that fast. Chanel has the deux-pièces with the pockets, or the bouclé, but what is it for Dior nowadays? I can’t say.” So what could be the foundation?
Simons' take on the tux has featured in both couture (left) and spring summer 2013 (right)
Galliano’s girls oscillated between grown-up jolie madame and the super-young whimsy, frothing over with feminity, costume references, cheeky hemlines and metres of chiffon, but Raf has publicly stated that this look, for him, was far too dramatic. So far his take has been woman friendly, but with Christian Dior’s aim in mind – to create stylish clothes that people out on the street will wear – you’ll find it more refined, stripped back, subtle and elegant. Just think of the simply but oh-so-sexy tuxedos of spring/summer 2013 (never mind that they’re a YSL signature), or the full-skirted silhouette he’s honed for both collections to date. No superfluous frills (of the literal or metaphorical kind), no gimmicks. And we can’t imagine that changing any time soon. Scroll through the gallery above for Dior's A-list followers.