So is it “Good girls go to heaven, and bad girls go to Dior”? Or, as the famous Parisian couture house put it on its latest fragrance, handed out to guests who walked through the gardens of the Musée Rodin and its magnificent sculptures: “Poison, Girl”.
Those words appeared on the pewter packaging laced with blood red. It apparently set the tone of the collection; not in colour, but in a rebellious, youthful treatment of the clothes. Jackets, including the iconic Dior ‘Bar’, were pulled off the shoulders; while other pieces were (presumably deliberately) ill-fitting. A big satin bow tied sloppily around the ankle above high-heeled shoes, summed up the awkward feeling of this “poison girl” out to destroy.
But what was the real story behind this collection, which was youthful in its mildly aggressive way? (There were plenty of see-through tops revealing pubescent breasts, although they may no longer frighten today’s parents.) In the absence of a creative director, since the abrupt departure of the Belgian Raf Simons, Swiss-born Serge Ruffieux and Lucie Meier led a group of studio hands, who took a quick march through the audience, departing via the fire-exit door.
I kept seeing flashes of Raf in tailored pieces, even when they were set askew. A deep blue dress cut to slurp over one shoulder made a stylish ankle-length dress. But there was not much sense of the romanticism of Monsieur Dior himself – nor of the same spirit in the Galliano years.
The team called its work “couture by nature”, a phrase which may have encompassed the embroidered sprigs of Alpine flowers on a mustard coat or as a panel in a white skirt, while Mr Dior's attraction to talismans appeared as tiny creatures on bare skin. Was it all about “couture's new realism”, as the show notes suggested?
I saw a vague influence of Vetements, the ready-to-wear collective that has captured a style of easy, gender-loose freedom. Or maybe the clothes were designed to approach that illusion of the “new normal”, which would indeed be new for rarefied haute couture.