RAF SIMONS FOR DIOR
FROM V98 WINTER 2015
PHOTOGRAPHY SIMON PROCTER
TEXT PATRIK SANDBERG
WITH ITS LEGENDARY SHOW LOCATION AND DIZZINGLY INSPIRED DUDS, RAF SIMONS’S RESORT COLLECTION FOR DIOR CAME FROM ANOTHER DIMENSION TO TAKE FASHION ON A TRIP
Though nestled on a cliff overlooking the glamorous Côte D’Azur, Pierre Cardin’s Palais Bulles (“Bubble Palace”) wouldn’t be out of place in a galaxy far, far away—like on Tatooine, the desert planet where Jedi are raised among Hutts and Tusken Raiders in the fantasy world of Star Wars. “In many ways it is a form of architecture you cannot connect to another,” Raf Simons says. Designed by the late Hungarian architect Antti Lovag, the amphibeous-looking structure is of an aesthetic language that belongs to Lovag alone. “It is more human than rational—individual and playful,” Simons continues. “It is a place I have been fascinated by for a number of years and I am so happy to be able to show here.”
Long a site of cult worship among architecture and interior design cognoscenti, the Palace maintains its original aesthetic vision under Cardin’s watch. The interiors look straight out of a 1960s science fiction B-movie. It’s an artifact of pure originality that perfectly gels with Simons’s own future-retro vision for this chapter of his own epic saga at Dior.
“I wanted an idea of freedom, playfulness, and individuality to come to the fore in this collection,” Simons says, “especially in consideration of the Dior Archive. It is not a heavy concept; it is light and young and there is a literal lightening of this clothing to make it fresh.” Think structurally enhanced bar jackets, utilitarian pockets, Lurex-and-metallic silk skirts, and accordion peekaboo dresses that flashed mechanically trippy grids of skin. “Much of the design architecture comes from Mr. Dior’s manteaux, his coats,” Simons explains. “But the heavy fabric is stripped away, the scale is played with, and elements of their style are ‘collaged’ into other forms and garments.” The final product, arriving in stores this November, is something familiar, something strange, and something altogether futuristic. If Mr. Cardin’s gleaming reaction from the front row is any indication (at the exuberant age of 92, no less), it’s something that would make those late architects Dior and Lovag feel right at home.