Raf Simons is universally acknowledged as one of the most talented designers in fashion today, and his appointment this year at the House of Dior has drawn plenty of attention – not least for the hyped rivalry with Saint Laurent new hire Hedi Slimane. But so far we’ve heard relatively little from the Antwerp based Simons about his new job, so our interest was piqued by a new profile in Australian Vogue - especially by his take on the new direction for Dior.
First up Simons talks about the importance of couture to his vision: “I want to get away from couture just being done for a picture, or for a single moment on the red carpet. I want to try and convince women that couture can be worn in the day and that there’s a reality and relevance there, because that’s what Mr Christian Dior wanted. In my opinion Christian Dior was never, ever theatre.”
The theme of fashion reality is one which is typical for the man dubbed Mr Minimalism, but some have read a thinly veiled criticism of his predecessor, the archetypical theatrical designer, John Galliano.
Simons goes on to say, “I have so much respect for John’s technical skills and the fantasy, it’s just something that I don’t find relevant now, especially when it restricts a woman, because in every other area they have so much freedom now.”
Of course it is not outlandish to argue that Galliano-era decadence is outmoded in the wake of the recession, and his fall from grace, but it’s worth remembering that the fantasy that Galliano created through both his clothes and his iconic shows is the stuff that dreams were made of. From his graduate Les Miserables collection to shows inspired by everything from ‘hobo’ culture to Valley of the Dolls, Galliano courted controversy, yes, but he also delivered a whole lot of wham, bam fashion magic.
Rather than a discussion of relevance it’s perhaps more a question of maximalist taste vs minimalist taste- both of which have legions of fans – and we can say we have a place in our hearts for both pared back and OTT style. So what’s you take on the Max vs. Min debate? Lets us know your thoughts!