Christian Dior Haute Couture Winter 2016 Fashion Week Paris Antidote

Paris Haute Couture FW16 : Dior’s Real World Appeal

Byline : Jessica Michault
Photo : courtesy of Dior

Designers Lucie Meier and Serge Ruffieux have been a perfect example of grace under fire since they were first thrown into the spotlight at Christian Dior last October after Raf Simons decided to part ways with the house and they assumed interim. As rumors swirled (and continue to swirl) about who would be named the next designer for one of the most prestigious fashion houses in the world, this pair stepped up and produced collections that proposed, if ever so subtly, a contemporary vision of what the future of this industry should look like.

They found a way to meld the past of the house, in particular the Bar suit, with a future that argued for real world rather than spectacle dressing. Both for ready-to-wear and, as was shown again on Monday afternoon in the hallowed salons of the Dior headquarters on the avenue Montaigne, haute couture, they made a lovely sartorial argument that, for couture to survive outside of gala dinners and royal weddings, it needs to be grounded in garments that have a connection to reality.

Christian Dior haute couture fall-winter 2016

To make that idea ring even more clearly in the mind they limited the palette of their fall/winter 2017 couture collection to black and white, using glinting gold and sliver elements to act as the collection’s embellishments and accent hues. With this tidy foundation squared away the duo’s work with silhouettes really came to the foreground. The first outfit set the tone beautifully, a voluminous pleated taffeta black skirt paired with a long feather light silk georgette short sleeved top that crossed in the front but left a triangle of skin at the waistline exposed. The ensemble was youthful, understated and gracefully done. This dress, and the rest of this collection, was basically saying that “in your face” fashion is démodé and that relaxed, nonchalant and timeless chic is the only true way to never look (or feel) out of place.

Christian Dior haute couture fall-winter 2016

This sentiment was reiterated over and over as each of the forty-five looks. From the elongated Bar jackets and roomy trouser suits to the asymmetrical sleeved gowns and a shaggy black-and-white intarsia-patterned mink top covered jet black beading this collection had a fresh élan. And the pair also remained faithful to their exploration of the shoulders as a sensual area of focus. This is a concept that they first introduced in their previous couture collection, which arguably sparked the recent fashion trend in making shoulders a feature player in fashion designs across the industry.

If rumors are to be believed, a new designer for Dior should be announced any day now. But Meier and Ruffieux should be commended for what they were able to accomplish during their time at the wheel of this fashion ship. They stayed the course, found smooth sartorial waters to sail and kept Dior pointed in the right direction for the future.

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