Raf Simons on his surrealist showcase

Raf Simons on his surrealist showcaseImage courtesy of Dior

Raf Simons on his surrealist showcase

The Palais Bulles – an interconnecting architectural wonder of terracotta eyeballs set into the cliffs of Theoule-sur-Mer was built as a utopian project to encompass architect Antti Lovag’s theory of “habitology” – to live in ancestral cave-like dwellings where beauty, harmony and a free-wheeling way of thinking can give way to creative expression.I was very astonished when I saw it for the first time, because it sits in such a weird way, away from any old architecture” – said Simons before the show.

Raf Simons on his surrealist showcase Image courtesy of Dior

It was the perfect architectural summation of where Raf Simons is at with Dior, as he freed and lightened up the silhouettes using Dior’s atelier take on homespun crafts to create movement and experimental textures. Models snaked their way around Lovag’s bulbous terracotta and glass globules lined with a shade of pink that Monsieur Dior would have approved of, to a mash-up soundtrack of 18th century Baroque and the electronica of Martin Gore. The collection comprised of elements of sun, sea, sky and sand coming together with stars flocking to nearby Cannes as well as the arrival of artists like Picasso and Matisse in their relaxed attire.

Raf Simons on his surrealist showcase Image courtesy of Dior

It’s why bias cut evening gowns would find company with rustic checked jackets, frayed-hemmed dresses and 1920s style bathing suits. Fabrication led to fluidity as the Côte d’Azur landscapes were collaged into painterly lurexes, furs were knitted into freeform chenille and lattice knits bounced side by side with crochet. From bubble to palm to pool, the collection echoed the multi-faceted nature of the South of France.

Raf Simons on his surrealist showcase Image courtesy of Dior

The maison’s connection with this surreal venue is not just through Simons’ fascination but as the owner of this bubble palace Pierre Cardin was also incidentally a former Head of Atelier Tailleur to Monsieur Dior when he was crafting his new look. At ’92 he looked sprightly in the front row of his bubble house. The collection may have been playful with fabrics but Simons’ approach was about taking away rather than adding and mathematically reducing the construction.

Raf Simons on his surrealist showcase Image courtesy of Dior

There’s calculation in the way the bar has once again been riffed off of, this time with utilitarian and a deliberate move away from “big” coats and skirts. This season, we’ve been hit with architectural wonders from all corners of the globe for the cruise shows but the relationship between architecture, the house of Dior and Simons’ approach towards fashion is perhaps more meaningful when you consider the distinctive lines and silhouettes of the house as well as Simons’ own beginnings as a furniture designer and his own interest in fields beyond fashion.

more. www.rafsimons.com|www.anttilovag.org|www.pierrecardin.com|www.dior.com

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