Alongside walls adorned with flowers, the show's opening looks of sleek, black tailored pieces clinched in with gold clasps to create tiny waists referenced Dior's New Look and Raf's signature of minimalist dressing. The sharp designs evolved into curved bustiers over cigarette pants, with pale colours beginning to emerge as more feminine looks appeared: fuller skirts, richer colours and jewelled-embossed designs. Slightly brighter prints were seen in the middle section with strapless, full skirted gowns or full-length gowns, before the display reverted back to sharper, demure looks in grey but neon lips kept them fresh. The concluding segment was the highlight, with Dior's signature returning in the strapless ball gowns, ending mid-calf and definitely leaving a lasting impression.
It was indeed more exciting than the recent understated collections under the eyes of Bill Gayten as the house worked through its limbo period but, that said, I actually preferred the previous couture collection. It had a distinct signature: feminine, wearable, classic Dior. Though this collection evolved with ease into each different section, I found there were a few too many ideas; colours were black, pastel, rich, bright, neon; some looks were very feminine with the clinched in silhouette; some were sharp and masculine. I wasn't sure what message Raf was trying to send about the new Dior era. If certain phases of the collections had been expanded and other ideas left to the next collection, then I think I would have probably been very impressed. I don't want to sound too negative because parts of the collection were beautiful, especially the end, but some looks such as the dress to the left with its odd silhouette left me puzzled. Perhaps I'm just being being too cynical as I realise that this show has rendered Simons many rave reviews but I was just expecting a bit more. Rather than being blow away, I was left a little deflated.
Being honest, I still miss the bravado of Galliano's collections, or should we say performances, that I don't think anybody can really match. Every look that walked down the catwalk was a surprise; vibrant colours accompanied extravagant sets where each piece told a story in itself complimented with eye-catching hairstyles and make-up and concluded with masterful ball gowns almost the length of the runway itself. Galliano's Autumn/Winter 07-08 couture show is one of the first collections I can ever remember and marked the beginning of my interest in the fashion industry: a journey back to 18th century France where rich, vibrant Marie Antoinette-inspired designs travelled down spiral staircases in a true Galliano extravaganza - would this Dior collection we saw yesterday have inspired me so? I'm not too certain, but I guess dwelling on the past is not going to change it. Galliano is no more and Simons is the future. Look forward we must and embrace the new era of Dior which, even if less exciting in my eyes, promises to bring a new wave of artistic design to the iconic French house.