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With two major houses operating without a creative head, Paris has been in a state of flux this season. While Lanvin’s show on Thursday night was widely panned, Friday’s Dior show was an admirable effort that lived up to the house’s legacy while holding steady, despite losing creative director Raf Simons last October. As The Washington Post’s Robin Givhan said of the collection on Twitter: “No official creative director but atelier skills. @Dior #PFW.”
Head designers Serge Ruffieux and Lucie Meier presented a cohesive, commercial collection that held together well, sending strong, structured silhouettes down the runway. It didn’t cause a fashion revolution, nor even rock the Dior boat, but instead kept it classic with a twist. The design duo made clear nods to the house’s legacy but made modern. The collection recalled the famous Bar suit of Mr. Dior’s New Look, but looser and with dropped shoulders recalling the volume trend of the season, while pencil skirts had a careful flourish at the waist that rendered them fanciful.
If the collection itself didn’t have a visionary direction, the set certainly did. Models marched inside futuristic tubes. While in a holding pattern, the brand is still going somewhere, Ruffieux and Meier seemed to say.
There were several pieces that will be coveted by celebrities and customers alike, including the accessories. Notably the new Diorever bag — its campaign fronted by Jennifer Lawrence — launched on Wednesday and is sure to be worn by the brand’s fans soon. It will hold customers’ interest long enough for the house to make a new star appointment.
Red-carpet looks were noticeably absent, though it presents its gown-heavy couture collection in July and is an evening staple with celebrities such as Lawrence and Charlize Theron, both of whom are under contract with the brand.
Still celebrities filled the front row, including Jessica Alba, Riley Keough, Emmy Rossum, Rosamund Pike and French actor Pierre Niney. Kris Jenner was on hand — with her enormous body guard in tow — to support daughter Kendall Jenner, who walked in the show.
For her part, Pike believed that the brand’s legacy would continue without a standout star designer. “I think you’ve got Raf’s ideas still percolating through and, you know, the spirit that he created is still alive. I like to be loyal and come and support,” she said.
Such loyalty proves that the Hydra of the Dior brand can survive without its head. After two seasons with no leader, if it can thrive remains to be seen.
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