A new Dior species is on the prowl. Raf Simons pushed his Dior femme further to the brink as the hyperreality of a plastic box, overwhelmed by a Pepto Bismol pink shaded floor, set the scene for a game of seduction. Revved up by Giorgio Moroder’s “The Apartment” and Throbbing Gristle’s “Hot on the Heels of Love”, the Dior animal stalked stridently clothed in a tension-filled interplay between the masculine and the feminine, and abstracted takes on animalia. “The idea had begun in the couture, but here there is more wildness, savagery and overt masculinity in the way a woman might present herself,” said Simons in the press notes. “The idea of animals and an abstraction of their patterns became key; none of them literal, more the invention of a new species.”
Carry on Kink:
The seeds of kink were embedded in Simons’ awe-inspiring Haute Couture show in January. They lingered, deepened and developed an undertone of menace for ready-to-wear. Vinyl thigh-high boots in solid slick maroons and dark geometrics encased the legs. Patent coats were slashed hinting and glinting at what lay beneath. The body was on show but enclosed in taut acid brights. Pinafore dresses had slashed pleats flailing about like a Japanese schoolgirl’s uniform. The sensuality here was simmering rather than overt, with sinister undertones, recalling the moods of American Psycho or Nine and a Half Weeks. The oversized coats in hardy menswear fabrics reminded you of a pervasive male presence except that they might be in too-bright shades of apple green or pixelated yellow, as part of Simons’ intended sensory overload. The Dior femme embodied both sexes – she’s the seduced and the seducer.
Christian Dior first offered leopard print in 1947, which was revolutionary at the time. Since then animal prints have been done and hackneyed to death. It was up to Simons to dissect it, blow it up and render it in clashing colour combos on knitted up jacquard jumpsuits. You could make out the sinuous lines of a tiger stripe running rampage over modish short dresses as well as on lattice-cut pvc that clung to the body like a second skin mesh. Fur coats were about as overtly animal as it got, but even then they were slashed and inset with tweed. Simons described this attire as a “new kind of camouflage” but outside of Dior’s hyper-real plastic box, she’s not likely to blend into the background. The mannish double breasted coats and toughened up tailoring form an armour-like ruse that throws you off the scent but the wildness underneath that outerwear definitely can’t be tamed.