PARIS -- Under an almost luridly beautiful hanging garden installed in a tent outside the Musee Rodin, designer Raf Simons presented the spring 2014 Dior runway collection Friday afternoon during Paris Fashion Week.
The inspiration: Simons wanted to create "a tribe of flower women," according to the show notes, and alter "the nature of Dior's fashion through a celebration of artificial and real."
The look: Genetically modified Dior, spliced, diced and put into a blender. In other words, experimental luxury.
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Key pieces: Black wool silk jacket worn with a new kind of skort (black hot pants cross-pollinated with a pleated floral skirt, which was perhaps too experimental). Pale pink sleeveless twist-front silk top, worn with a white asymmetrically pleated skirt. Open shoulder, pale blue and white shirt dress with twist front detail. Featherweight black silk top and yellow trumpet skirt that barely skimmed the body. Black coat dress with floral printed back pleats. Dresses with Dior insignia badges and quixotic messages, such as "Alice garden" and "Primrose path." Perforated Lady Dior bags. Hanging garden inspired jewelry.
The verdict: A mixed bouquet. The construction on some of these pieces, the cut-outs and the pleating, were stunning. And you have to love Simons for being willing to take creative risks. (Skorts! Badges! Floral-related slogans?) But there were so many ideas here, I wish he had let some take root and develop more fully, and saved some for later collections.