A Dior Departure

Christian Dior Raf Simons 1952 Esther

I was sad to hear that Raf Simons is departing from Christian Dior.

I'm sure there'll be many a news piece speculating as to the motives behind his decision and, as always, who will be his successor.

I'd rather point out one of my favourite Raf-at-Dior moments: his debut AW 2012 couture collection (above left). He took a lovely but slightly stuffy AW 1952 Esther-style couture dress (above right) and interpreted into something utterly streamlined, spunky and modern. 

When I worked at Kerry Taylor Auctions, we sold this dress in 2008 - to Dior. At the time, John Galliano was the creative director and I imagined it would have been turned into something much grander, much heavier or simply much bigger. As someone who worshiped at the altar of Galliano-era Dior, I couldn't imagine that I'd one day prefer such polar opposite approach to the translation of the maison's ten-year archive of original M. Dior designs.

What made Simons' approach so potent was that it was that of a curator rather than an heir apparent. He was under no such impression that the house was his - in the vein of that Gallianoesque exhibitionism - but rather his role there was  to de-code Dior's symbols, attitudes and aesthetic tropes and reassemble them in a new way for a modern audience with such a solid understanding of this storied fashion house. 

I suppose that makes Raf Simons a great designer, and why I'll miss keeping up with his collections.