Raf Simons, the new creative director of Christian Dior, presented his first haute couture collection for the house in Paris on Monday. Reviews were stellar.
The Belgian couturier, who hails from Jil Sander, held the hotly anticipated -- (and this is an understatement) -- Fall 2012 show in a private home where attendees settled into one of five rooms, each with walls dramatically blanketed in different flowers including white, orchids, red roses, blue delphiniums, yellow goldenrods and pink roses.
If the glorious set was over-the-top and a definitive homage to Dior, a passionate flower enthusiast, the collection was right on target incorporating the romance and archival styles of Dior while holding fast to some of Simons’ more modern, architectural leanings. “Even as Simons celebrated the rich history of the venerable brand, his dedication to the contemporary woman remained undiminished,” wrote fashion critic Robin Givhan, in Newsweek/The Daily Beast.
The buzz, for various reasons, was sonic over Simon’s debut. After a yearlong search, he replaced former creative director John Galliano who was fired in March of 2011 for making anti-Semitic comments, a very public and humiliating debacle for Dior, the crown jewel of luxury goods group LVMH that also owns Louis Vuitton and Givenchy.
Top designers such as Donatella Versace, Marc Jacobs, Diane von Furstenberg and even the legendary Pierre Cardin, who turned 90 on Monday, and was Dior’s first employee in 1947, turned out to support Simons. Other front-row luminaries included Sharon Stone, Jennifer Lawrence and Marion Cotillard.
Reactions to the collection were swift and glowing. Diane von Furstenberg tweeted, “Raf Simons did a superb Dior show! Very Dior! Another talented Belgian!” Vogue's creative director Grace Coddington told the AFP (Agence France-Presse) that she "thought it was really beautiful. And my expectations are always very high."
And somebody reportedly overheard Anna Wintour, Vogue’s editor in chief say, “Isn’t this amazing?”
Various news outlets contributed to this report