On the eve of Dior’s 70th birthday, a new documentary goes behind the scenes at one of fashion’s most successful houses to unpack the rich history of the brand. The film follows in the footsteps of the acclaimed documentary Dior and I, which focussed on the run up to Raf Simon’s (then Creative Director at Dior) first collection.
Inside Dior widens the narrative, exploring the brand’s history more widely. It first looks back to the beginnings of the house, with Christian Dior’s iconic ‘New Look’ and follows the evolution the label’s signature feminine aesthetic through to present day, with Maria Grazia Chiuri now at the helm. Highlights include the introduction to Francois Demachy, Dior’s ‘nose’, set the rose and jasmine fields of the South of France, and to makeup director, Peter Philips, as he creates the right catwalk look.
Presented in two parts, this new Dior documentary is vital viewing for those looking for unique insight into one of the most game-changing brands operating today. An aesthetic delight, catch the first episode on More4 this evening.
The world waited unabashedly for Maria Grazia Chiuri’s first Haute Couture collection for Dior, and it did not disappoint. Drawing inspiration from the motif of the labyrinth, the collection embodied Chiuri’s journey to the heart of Dior’s design story.
It was a collection alive with nature: woodland flowers, moss and ferns made up the set and informed the collection in equal measure, inspired by Christian Dior’s statement that: “After women, flowers are the most divine of creations. They are so delicate and charming, but they must be used carefully.”
Silhouettes referenced the original founder of the house too, with cinched waists imbuing ethereal lace dresses and mysterious midnight velvet gowns with an easy elegance. Powder pinks and blues were married with inky blacks, allowing for the full spectrum of characters to be imagined and rendered in Chiuri’s magnificent modern fairy tale.
If there’s one thing we’ll never tire of, it’s a great coffee table tome. And the latest offering from fashion journalist and fashion photography specialist Jérôme Gautier – Dior: New Looks – is the perfect kind of thing to lose yourself in on a wintry Sunday afternoon.
Since 1947, when Christian Dior first showcased the irreversibly influential ‘new look’, the house of Dior has been at the forefront of revolutionary design prowess, and this book chronicles some of the most beautiful moments of that time-spanning journey, resulting in a satisfyingly dense catalogue of breathtaking couture and iconic imagery.
From Irving Penn to Peter Lindbergh, Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton, Willy Vanderperre, Mario Testino and Patrick Demarchelier to name but a few – the list of revered photographers with work nestled between these pages is endless.
Given the recently announced departure of the brilliant Raf Simons from the house, this book comes at the ideal time. It is a chance to marvel at all that has come before, and appreciate the sheer amount of history that the new artistic director will have to shoulder in the future.
Peter Lindbergh, 2012; Christian Dior Haute Couture by Raf Simons, AW12
Dior: New Looks by Jérôme Gautier (Thames & Hudson) is out now.
If the draw of Roksanda and Celine wasn’t already pulling you by the coat hem towards London’s Mount Street, then perhaps the irresistible lure of fleeting fancy might do the trick. Last week, Christian Dior opened a rather permanent-looking pop-up on the well-heeled avenue, to satisfy and intrigue both regular and window shoppers alike, while work is completed on their Bond Street London flagship.
As one would expect, Raf Simons riffed on the lineage of the great fashion house for the aesthetic of the premises. While nodding to their historic 30 Avenue Montaigne with the shop’s clean, grand Victorian exterior, inside he thrusts customers into a forward thinking, contemporary space of mirrors (by Hubert Le Gall), floor to ceiling digital screens and eye wateringly cool furniture, such as the Nuage table by Guy De Rougemont and a beautiful sofa by Vladimir Kagan.
On said digital screens, is a recurring loop of Simons’ a/w 2015 twisting and distorting animal print – more abstract camouflage than straight-up cheetah. Again, it is a fitting tribute to the past – Dior is said to have ‘invented’ animal print in 1947 – with the smart touch of the brand’s new, new look.
With autumn/winter’s ready-to-wear, accessories, footwear and leather goods linings shelves and hanging deliciously from racks, eager to be slipped on in the pink (of course) changing rooms at the centre of the store – this is a temporary treasure trove worth pillaging. And despite the abundance of camo, when strolling through Mayfair you’ve little chance of overlooking this momentary gem. Please ensure sure that you don’t.
1947 was a bleak year for post-war Europe: a lack of adequate housing and poverty were daily struggles. Yet that all changed thanks to Christian Dior. His iconic New Look featured fuller silhouettes, the abundance of material rebelling against the austere, masculine narrow skirts forced by rationing. The collection carried a spirit of rebirth and renewal, and heralded a return to normality.
In a new exhibition running until 1 November, the esteemed fashion house will be showcasing this sartorial revolution. Featuring a selection of haute couture pieces dating from 1947-2015, photographs, documents, memorabilia, manuscripts, original drawings, miniatures of the Barsuit, New Look dolls, patterns and toiles, along with a tribute to the legendary Miss Dior perfume, it will serve as a genealogy of Dior style.
Musée Christian Dior, 1 Rue d’Estouteville 50400 Granville, France
Dior has released the fourth edition of their Secret Garden saga, a series of films with different directors, models and moods, all located at Château de Versailles. This short features the new face of Dior as its star, Rhianna.
Steven Klein takes us to Versailles at night, where Rihanna wonders through the grand rooms and gardens of the French palace, clothed in the Esprit Dior collection.
“Rihanna’s mystery and intrigue combined with her razor sharp looks and sensibility, are the essential; perfect elements to create the stage for Secret Garden,” states Steven Klein.
Dior & I follows Raf Simons as he started his role as Creative Director at one of the most infamous fashion houses. Filmmaker Frédéric Tcheng captures those first moments working for the brand and continues up until his first haute couture collection was presented to the world.
This soon to be released documentary gives you insider access into the mind of a designer, but also shows how everything from the ateliers to communications find a way to work together and create something as magical as a couture fashion show.
Dior is the latest fashion house to curate a space at the infamous Dover Street Market.
Designed exclusively for the Mayfair boutique, the new area is located on the first floor, housing a careful edit of Dior ready-to-wear pieces designed by Raf Simons. The collections kick off with their Resort 2015 line and you’ll also find key accessories from the brand such as the new Diorama and Be Dior bags.
An elegant woman storms down a corridor; the sound of her footsteps resonating against the floor creates a sinister heartbeat, drumming out the rhythm of a dramatic love triangle that ends in tragedy. This short film, Terminal 3, is Philip-Lorcia Dicorcia’s realisation of Dior’s stunning Cruise 2015 collection, inspired by Hollywood’s Golden Age.
In our tenth edition Twin celebrates trailblazers. Head of the pack is Jane Bown the prominent portraitist, now 89, whose powerful imagery is celebrated in a new documentary. We travel to Barnard College to meet Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, the graphic designer, professor and artist who was the first female to receive tenure at Yale University. We also step into the wonderful world of Langley Fox, the youngest of the Hemingway pack who is fashion’s model-of-the-moment. Elsewhere, photographer Boo George shows strength in beauty shooting Kati Nescher in her most womanly guise. And finally, Ben Weller goes back to the classroom to capture this season’s preppy Dior.
“I began by looking at women from different continents and cultures,” explained Raf Simons when talking about the recent creations he sent down the catwalk during couture fashion week. His third collection as artistic director of the infamous house was worldlier than its predecessors. “The collection evolved to be about Dior not just being about Paris and France, but about the rest of the world and how many fashion cultures impact on the house and on myself,” the Belgian designer added. These influences came from Europe, America, Asia and Africa and the collection itself was split into four, each lending its own culture to the beautiful designs.
Not only were we introduced to a more modern, multi-cultural Dior women but we were also introduced to Dior Haute Couture the way four very different, highly respected fashion photographers see it. Willy Vanderperre (The Americas), Terry Richardson (Africa), Patrick Demarchelier (Europe) and Paolo Roversi (Asia) were given their own nation to express and took photographs before the show, which were then projected above the catwalk as the models walked down the runway.
With a magnitude of embroidery, billowing silk and a plethora of silhouettes, now the Dior woman can be transported to the country of her choice when dressing for that special occasion.
Dior’s status as an icon of French luxury fashion is indisputable, however it is a lesser known fact the designer himself was an enthusiastic Anglophile, often working with the likes of Princess Margaret and Cecil Beaton.
Dior at Harrods has been launched to commemorate this fusion of French style with British charm. More than a mere fashion installation, it is a full immersion into the house’s world of couture, accessories and fragrance with an added quintessentially English touch.
Raf Simons’ designs sit alongside royal beefeaters, Royal Mail postboxes are placed next to artistic reinventions of the Lady Dior handbag and a pop-up café inspired by Salon de Thé culture offers a Parisian take on afternoon tea. The collaboration also marks the exclusive launch of the brand’s new high-end fragrance, Gris Montaigne, a chypre blend of Calabrian bergamot, Turkish rose, patchouli, jasmine sambac and woody moss.
Whether you prefer to start by viewing the Avenue Montaigne facade or admiring the late fashion legend’s personal sketches, there is no better way to spend an afternoon than by getting lost in the far-reaching realms of the Dior universe.
Dior have graced the windows of historic Paris department store Printemps Haussmann with lashings of tulle, swirls of snow, cascades of sequins and gold plus the odd unicorn for a festive look that we want to capture in a bauble and hang on our own trees – as soon as we can finally justify getting them. Inside, Dior’s pop-up store has Christmas covered Lady Dior style with specially made Dior dolls, snow globes and advent calendars. We’re officially smitten.
This year’s Autumn/Winter 2012 haute couture shows were another testament to signature style. Be it the modern romance of Valentino’s Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli or Giambattista Valli’s ever-enticing plays on volume and silhouettes, the one unifying factor throughout every collection was a representation of each brand’s true essence, underlined by highly-refined tailoring and draping.
Twin selects our favourite personal visions of the season…
Couture cool is Jarrar’s calling card and although those expecting overtly dramatic ball gowns or extravagant embellishments from couture may be disappointed, her softly draped tunic dresses and forties-esque trench coat top and A-line, knife-pleated skirt combinations add a modern yet elegant touch to the couture circuit. As they say, sometimes less is more.
This season Karl Lagerfeld saw it as his mission to put a new spin on vintage. While the collection managed to revamp classics such as the tweed suit, tea dresses and peter pan collars in a colour palette that included soft shades such as petal rose and cream, its true appeal was in the unmatchable craftsmanship of the house of Chanel. Hundred upon hundreds of hand-sewn sequins and a breathtaking feather, lace and tulle finale dress were just two examples that further solidified the label’s spot at the top of couture pyramid.
Couture week undoubtedly belonged to Raf Simons. Although he might have not been the most obvious successor to Galliano’s theatrical showings, the Belgian designer’s minimalist aesthetic has proved the perfect partner to Christian Dior’s original elegant and strongly feminine designs. Peplum waist tops and dresses paired with straight cut trousers, not to mention the two-sided evening gowns with crystal embellishments put a refreshingly modern spin on New Look-esque silhouettes.
Nymph creatures and a fairytale narrative were woven into every fibre of Valli’s designs. Rich emerald greens and ruby garnet florals were printed on high-necked ruffled cocktail dresses and evening gowns cinched in at the waist with gold ivy belts. With a beautiful play of volume and colour, the collection was an all-round dream.
Riccardo Tisci’s tribal warrior was equipped with face-obscuring sunglasses and menacing dogs, but that didn’t keep the collection from being feminine and alluring, thanks to halter necklines and iridescent ombre fringing. In short, it was a well-balanced mixture of elegance, urbanism and the beauty of nature.
Maison Martin Margiela
In the light of the brand’s upcoming collaboration with high street retailer H&M, some fear that the house of Margiela will succumb to commercialism. However this collection was a piece of avant-garde artistry. From the crystal face masks to the dynamic collages of fabric and textures. Refreshing and original, it proved why Maison Martin Margiela more than deserves a permanent spot on the haute couture schedule.
Midnight blue dresses, fully-sequined, brocade printed and embroidered cocktail pieces, as well as floor-length pleated chiffon gowns made this collection one of typical Valentino glamour, whilst canary yellow, magenta and blood red added rich pops of colour. In our eyes, Chiuri and Piccioli can do no wrong.
It’s fair to say that Raf Simons’ couture debut for Dior was the most hotly tipped show in Paris this week. And ever since the industry caught sight of that hot pink floor length bustier, the praise has been ringing in from around the fashion world, with names from Marc Jacobs to Donatella Versace speaking in admiration.
So, unsurprisingly we’re adding our voice to the applause. Truly this was the kind of couture that Twin just gets. There was a lightness of touch to the shapes that were at once a sketch of the past, proving that Simons’ famed minimalism can marry with the most classic of fashion houses.
Dramatic embroidered ball-gowns and cigarette pant suits reached back to the New Look but stripped away the nostalgia in favour of clean lines and brilliant colour that helped reveal the original architecture that made Dior so revolutionary in 1947. This was femininity, but in a way we could all recognise as relevant to contemporary fashion sensibilities, exemplified by the easy elegance of the models’ hands in pockets swagger. Even the abundance of fresh delphiniums and orchids on the walls were a triumph of structure over the riotous bouquet.
While Simons was only appointed four short months ago, we’ve been waiting 18 months to see the direction the house of Dior takes. The verdict fifty-four outfits later? Ok there were echoes of Simons’ later work at Jil Sander, but that’s certainly not a reason to complain. Indisputably the Dior DNA was all there. The collection showed Dior have bagged themselves a designer that’s going to put Dior on our list, and surely every sane fashionistas also.
Ever since John Galliano’s departure from Dior in March last year, the fashion industry has been playing its own game of ‘designer ping – pong’ bouncing names back and forth in speculation as to who will take the creative reigns of the Parisian couture house. Jacobs – Tisci – Ackermann – Jacobs – Simons – Kane – Ackermann – Simons… It went on.
However after a year-long debate the rumours were finally put to rest yesterday as LVMH CEO, Bernard Arnault, announced that Raf Simons will take over as Artistic Director. Having left his previous post as Creative Director at Jil Sander earlier this year, Simons will commence work at his new design home with immediate effect, preparing for what will be his first Dior collection, which will be showcased at Couture Fashion Week in Paris this July.
What fragrance to wear with vintage clothing? This is a question I often ponder. Should one team a delicious piece of vintage with an equally arcane perfume – a Shalimar or a Miss Dior or an Arpege – and thus create a sort of double whammy of historically resonant cloaking. Or do you update a vintage outfit with a resolutely contemporary perfume and allow it to provide an olfactive update/contrast to your outfit? Well perhaps Dior have dreamed up the answer. Collection Privee is a wonderful edit of eight wonderfully uncommercial new fragrances. These are perfumes with integrity: rich with history and imagination yet completely contemporary. New Look 1947 is not only a fantastic name and idea for a perfume – a scent inspired by that timeless nipped-in silhouette – it is, in my humble opinion a great choice to team with that prized vintage dress. The constituent notes are tuberose, rose, jasmine and vanilla. It is a modern floral, not cloying and concentrated like the florals of yore. Nor has it been corrupted into one of those horrible ubiquitous cynically commercial fruity florals. Or rendered cologne like by the addition of too much citrus. No, it is ladylike and powdery and ideal if you want to feel feminine and precise without feeling blousy or saccharine.
It is with great sadness that we must report that the prevailing trend at the Spring/Summer 2011 shows was for bare eyelids. No eyeshadow. No eyeliner. Just bare eyes, sometimes not even with a lick of mascara to define them. This was nigh on tragic for us because for decades now we have been virtually wedded to liquid eyeliner. Although not especially loyal to one particular brand, we’ve used everything from Lancome and Chanel’s smart eyeliner pens, to £1.50 e.l.f (eyeslipsface.com) which is not at all bad if you are on a tight budget. However a number of signs tell us that the flick of liquid eyeliner on the upper eyelid is not completely dead and buried, and one of these was the Bettie Page look Pat McGrath evoked at the Dior SS11 Ready To Wear show AND the look she created at the recent couture. Both featured liquid eyeliner in a feline flick extending from the corner of the eye right out to the end of the eyebrow. It’s still, along with red lipstick, an uber signifier of all things Fifties and retro, or even early Sixties actually. The Mad Men era was still working liquid eyeliner. The other thing that makes us want to cling onto it in adversity is the appointment of Gwen Stefani as ambassador to L’Oreal. Stefani is a big one for black liquid eyeliner, along with red lips it’s her signature look – a noughties rockabilly girl. So we are going to keep on wearing it, despite what other beauty pundits might be preaching.
Image by Boo George for Twin issue one. Words by Bethan Cole.