Christian Dior Couture Spring Summer 2013 Paris

Spring has already sprung on the Christian Dior catwalk. In the heart of the snow covered Tuileries Gardens here in Paris, designer Raf Simons built a microclimate of pure haute couture.

He created his own minimalist demi-lune hedge garden peppered with barren trees, almost trembling in anticipation for their warm weather rebirth. Then as if blooming into being the pixie haired models, with glittering eyebrows and dew-like shimmering crystal-covered red lips, began to grow out of the ground to become the sartorial manifestation of Simons’ flowering carrier as a haute couture designer.

Once again Simons made the connection between his collection and those of Mr. Dior though their mutual appreciation for the power of flowers. Let us not forget the impact that the flower-covered walls had on the audience last season at Simon’s debut haute couture show for the house. While this season the designer was more literal in his homage to the founder of the house, this time his own more conceptual aesthetic truly began to blossom as well.

At the start of the show the collection hit on the 1950s shapes and lengths that the designer had already explored. Kind of like a refresher course to the groundwork he had already set in place. So there were the hourglass black tuxedo suits, a ball gown with an iridescent skirt and bustier tops worn with cropped vests covered in a dusting of beaded floral embellishments.
 
Then the collection grew into something else. Those 1950s lengths became more asymmetrical, the shapes further exaggerated and the flowers, well they began to bloom from everywhere and in every variety. Simons helped give those blossoms even more vitality by mixing them with an interesting array of colors like bright orange and searing yellow but also burgundy, lilac, navy and pale green. A palette melange that felt both youthful and sophisticated at the same time.

But it was those incredible flowers that really showed off how comfortable Simons already seems to be with the petits mains of the house. The way they climbed up transparent tulle gloves, fluttered like petals on a peplum waistline or looked like spun sugar on a ball gown were just three of the myriad of ways the house’s artisans beautifully interpreted the show's leitmotif.

The collection was a spectacular tour de force. One that revealed  Simons to be a designer who is respectful of the house’s heritage but also more than capable of giving it a modern renaissance.

- Jessica Michault

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