The first two things that I heard about this show were that is was ethnic-inspired and that Raf Simons finally decided to cast black models. Oh no, thought I. Another instance of people of colour being treated as exotic curiosities rather than actual human beings.
Fortunately, the show didn’t turn out to be offensive. I was relieved not to see any black girls scantily clad in “tribal” looks. What Raf showed instead was a selection of Dior’s signature silhouettes livened up with a rather democratic mixture of references to styles from around the world. Parisian elegance intertwined with New York’s nonchalance and Antwerp deconstruction; appropriated kimonos appeared alongside Masai-like prints and jewelry.
What the collection lacked was coherence. The variety of inspirations, not held together by any common thread or recurring motif, resulted in a bit of a mess. The few truly beautiful pieces (my personal favourite was a striped organza dress that combined Simons’s usual style with a touch of Africa) almost disappeared in a parade of random looks (like the pretty yet uninspiring eveningwear, or the pointless sheer dress with high-waisted pants underneath.) The show told no story and made no point about the women of the world. Or was it just trying to say that, regardless of their ethnicity, all women want to wear Dior? Somehow, I’m not entirely convinced.
Fashion Rated: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆