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Dior AW16
Backstage at Christian Dior AW16Photography Chloé Le Drezen

Dior debut first ready-to-wear show since Raf’s departure

With a surprise appearance from Kendall Jenner, the designers leading the headless house show a strong take on its signatures

The end might be nigh for Serge Ruffieux and Lucie Meier as the head designers leading the team at Christian Dior until a new creative director is announced. Rumour has it that this announcement is coming soon, but at what was potentially their first and last ready to wear show as the interim design leaders, they steered a steadier ship in comparison to their haute couture show. By sticking to the Dior-isms that Raf Simons brought to the house, and doing them well, they competently filled in the gap that could not have been left empty at a mega maison like Dior.

The set was both simple and striking, with wind tunnels built into the mirrored box venue in the Cour Carrée that created a surreal set of walkways to reflect and refract a tight edit of a Dior core wardrobe. The bar jacket that Simons often reinterpreted was present in various textures of black, and in a more casual and loose form than before. The off-the-shoulder construction, explored in their couture collection, reappeared here with more movement and levity. A smattering of abstract embroidery depicting flowers was also present to bolster the eveningwear. Paisley patterned knitwear was a more accessible way of wearing the florid repeat patterns that anchored the collection.

“With the current Dior woman lacking in definition without the guidance of a creative director, Kendall Jenner’s presence as a social media magnet was understandable”

In amidst these black-lipped Diorlings in their femme fleur dresses and en noir tailoring, Kendall Jenner made a surprising debut on the runway. With the current Dior woman lacking in definition without the guidance of a creative director, her presence as a social media magnet was understandable.

Where the collection really came to life was in the accessories. It’s cynical to think that the house might be using bags and trinkets to garner attention (and profit) as it’s been a season where often, accessories have been the main focal point. Many of the models doubled up on bags – such as scaled-up wallets and sunglasses cases worn across the body. In their ears were multi-clip earrings depicting Dior motifs. In onomatopoeic form, all of these accessories jingled and jangled with one another, which added an element of eclecticism to these streamlined looks. For Dior, it means the tills in their boutiques can still go ka-ching whilst they wait to usher in a new creative director.