Raf rules! I have to admit, I was one of the skeptics when I watched Raf Simon's first outing for Christian Dior. However, I was impressed on several fronts with his recent Fall 2013 Haute Couture collection for Dior.
First, the color combinations were gorgeous. It seems simple, but the mix of black, cool pastels with contrast brights looked super modern.
Second, after lots of media scrutiny across the fashion industry about diversity, the runway here had more models of color than any catwalk in recent history. The multiculturalism did not end there. The silhouettes and some of the embroideries clearly had their influences in different ethnic cultures with some asymmetrical kimono shapes or puckered silk technique. There were also draped shoulder details and sequin lines with roots from traditional African garb. What I liked was that the influences were not literal, but a hyper-contemporary, minimalist take on these muses.
Third, many young designers feel the burden to create collections that rely heavily on the brand's past to make sure they are staying true to the namesake legacy. This collection managed to evoke the spirit of the "New Look" without actually having to trot out something from 1947. Sure there were some dresses that could be called a ballgown, but beyond the flare of the skirt, it was completely modern.
One of my criticisms of his previous collection was that it looked too much like sportswear and that it couldn't justify the price tag. I realized that my thinking was very dated. It took this collection to make me realize that Haute Couture did not need to be tons and tons of fabric and hand embellishment , for luxury, it just needs to make you feel like a modern queen...