No one ever said ushering in a new era would be easy. But at Thursday's Spring 2013 Christian Dior show in Paris, Raf Simons made it look nearly effortless. And after 18 months of scandal, drama, and anticipation, that's really no small feat. Just imagine the pressure Simons must have felt.
Not that it showed. Simons is a designer who knows himself and trusts his aesthetic, so this was a collection that felt confident, elegant, and controlled. Blazers, dresses, and even ball gowns came in shapes that were pared-down and wearable, while fabrics like iridescent nylon and tech lace-mesh added just a hint of futurism. But for all his modern minimalism, Simons is also a designer who possesses a remarkable ability for exploring and reworking the past. His understanding of Dior's archives was obvious in July with his initial Couture offering, and, let's face it, it was obvious last season with his breathtaking swan song at Jil Sander, too. "People think Christian Dior was about constriction, and technically, with the New Look's corseting, it was," Simons said backstage. "But in a psychological sense, it was about liberating women, allowing them to be romantic again, and to fantasize about their image." With Simons at the helm, it's safe to say that Dior is well on track to being liberated too.