I Feel Love

You know that old industry chestnut defending the fashion show experience as something that is still sacred in this digital age; where the general consensus is that seeing the clothes in person, in motion, in situ and soundtracked can't be compared to the plethora of viewing options available to us – live streaming, instant images via Now Fashion and Twitter feed imagery/commentary?  It's a line of defence that I do by and large, agree with, which is why I rarely talk about collections (from the main fashion weeks) that I haven't seen in person or have some background information on.  Yet that belief often comes at odds with my fascination with what the general public think.  I don't think people's opinions should be snuffed out with this attitude of "Well, I was invited to the show and therefore I have a more valid and worthy opinion than you all."  What people say on Twitter, on Facebook, The Fashion Spot and on their blogs does collectively matter in the sense that you can gauge a very different sort of opinion that doesn't come with industry baggage.  They're potential consumers.  They could be diehard fans of the brand or completely indifferent to fashion.  Their views come informed or uninformed at all different levels.  To write off the lot of it is a extremely closeted attitude.  

When Raf Simons debuted his haute couture for Dior in July, I along with the rest of the fashion loving community joined in on the banter as an outsider, not having attending the show.  I was just another person viewing the images on Style.com, applying a very strict and cautiously optimistic viewpoint to looking at the collection.  Even then I felt I was infringing on territory that didn't feel quite right without having seen any of it in person, but at the same time, I couldn't tear my eyes away from all the opinions coming in from all arenas.  I couldn't stop reading all related comment threads, Tweets and followed the The Fashion Spot thread for a good week or so.  It was divided and ranged from love to hate.  It was interesting to see how the "hate" opinions were tinged with nostalgia for John Galliano.  It was also interesting to see the "love" opinions doused with a knowledge and cult-following of Simons' menswear work through to his tenure at Jil Sander.  I think I was sitting somewhere in the middle, with full belief in Simons as an innovative visionary, who needed time to settle into a house like Dior.

Then the ready to wear show came around at Paris Fashion Week and I was there in person, soaking up the blue room (that was where I was seated) with its well placed panes of transparent curtained windows.  That middling opinion instantly veered sharply into "love", just two silhouettes in.  The idea of Detroit House god Carl Craig as a soundtrack for a Christian Dior show was another factor in getting the thumbs up from me.  That already chipped away any balanced opinion of mine.  Every fabric and silhouette moved with a purpose that felt like the codes of Dior were undergoing 21st century shifts before our very eyes. 

I was fortunate enough to watch the models turn twice so that I could see different angles of each outfit from my vantage point and so it was that every outfit felt powerful to me.  Every waft of organza bubble, pleat and lightly sequinned chiffon looked masterful.  The other simplistic thing that I though about during the show was of course that I wanted to wear the lot of it.  When that selfish point of view comes into play, you can wave goodbye to unbiased perspective.

I wasn't even thinking about the significance of the bar jacket and A/H-lines.  Or even the significance of Simons exploring this notion of "anti-sex".  Deepened analysis of the motives and historical/cultural significance of the collection came much later, maybe up to five minutes after the show when you're in a throng of people backstage waiting to speak to Mr Simons.  

I'm talking about the instant visceral thoughts that go through your head during the show.  It was a pleasurable crescendo build up to see from the subtlety of tuxedo jackets and dresses to bubbling organzas cocooning the body to more jackets embedded with pleats and then finally to a whole passage of well-judged fabric experimentation.  I predictably got very excited by the technical lace, the layering of iridescent organza over satin and the embellishments that looked like sea creatures swimming in an inky black jacket sea.  These are personal likes that I hold and are in tune with my own taste – yet another sign of my lack of objectivity slipping away.

Of course, in my giddy excitement I logged onto all the sites, comment threads and Twitter searches expecting unanimous positivity.  Again, the opinions were as divided as they were for the haute couture show.  In a strange insecurity of my own opinion, I questioned where being present at the show, listening to that Detroit house thump at that volume and seeing the girls walk twice before my eyes and seeing a very emotional Raf in his endearing Helmut Lang denim jacket had flooded my perspective of wanting to root for its success.

Then upon visiting the showroom to see everything up close and a thorough inspection of the photos that you see here and rigorous editing of over 500 shots (always a handy indication of whether I got really excited at a show‚Ķ), it all came flooding back.  The movement.  The feeling of something renewed and refreshing happening before our eyes.  The seeds of a new epoch at a fabled house.   A new chapter to recall years later when hopefully, I'm considered to be part of the "old guard".  A feeling of vindication in my own opinion.  

Still, I'm mindful that seeing it in person had indeed altered my objectivity.  Mine is but one opinion out of potentially millions and those millions will ultimately count.  Once I have acknowledged my own inevitable bias of having seen something in person, it makes it even more interesting to delve into those comment strands and countless Tweets to get that bit of perspective.  I'm fully satisfied in knowing that whatever I see comes with personal judgement, opinion and taste.  Perhaps that will help us get over the ever-boring, ever-tedious "Are bloggers fashion critics?" bollocks.  I'm not.  And I don't think I want to be.  Instead I want to love what I love, in the way that I love things.  Which is why I'm happy, safe with the knowledge that my minute expression of adoration for this collection is part of a much bigger picture.



































































20 Replies to “I Feel Love”

  1. I really adore this collection, the fabrics, colours, textures, shapes, make-up all delight me and make me smile. A visceral reaction indeed.
    Elisa – Wandering Minds fashion

  2. Stunning stunning collection! The colors are so lovely and each piece is just beautiful!

  3. In my plan a DIY of the black jacket with the red sequined and feather flowers!!! <3 Love all the pieces! xox, d.

  4. I’m far away from any fashion center, so I’m exposed to pictures solely for a long, long time before I see the fashions in person.
    You know what?
    Time and time again, I’m disappointed by the way something that looked stunning in photos looks and behaves in real life.

  5. I totally agree to when I want to wear something I see on the runway I become totally biased even though I try my best not to. What a great chance to see the clothes in person at Dior, apparent Dior hires students from my year every year so fingerscrossed I nail it at the interview. As an exhausted student from “you-know-where”, they kind of force us to make sure things are very professional when presented to the public, so I am a bit shocked at one of the images with the not well-finished pocket flat that bunches at the corner (perhaps rushed?). But other than that, I’m always a fan of over laying transparency/translucent fabrics and tucking them back into hems or details on the garment, instant creating a very 3D texture and depth. I think Raf did a great job under the circumstances, and he’s really kept his own hand writing in the collection without it being too much of him or jil or whatever people might think he might bring over. Will you be wearing any of the pieces anytime soon?
    xx The Provoker

  6. I must say, Susie, that after months of riding the fence on this collection, reading your account and scrolling through the lovely photos—accompanied by the show soundtrack—has turned me into a lover.

  7. I totally agree with you–I love almost all of these pieces, though of course I am looking only at images and not the “Real Thing”. Thank you so much for putting this post together for us! Keep following your gut instinct, and sharing your creative thoughts with us–this is just what we want to see–what YOU love.

  8. And again all I can say is Simmons may be the most wonderful and kindest man in the world, loved by fashionistas and editors, but… this isn’t Dior and no amount of embroidery will be enough to change my mind. The shoes were uncomfortable, some of the garments still spotted poor finish and those black jackets / mini-dresses looked more like original YSL smoking than Dior’s Bar. I wish Raf was still with Jil Sander or did something of his own. THAT was moving. THIS just makes me very very very sad.

  9. I love the romantic floral prints and those shoes are gorgeous too!!

  10. When I first saw this collection on style.com I thought, “boring” and moved on. A while later, seeing pieces in person, in particular the knitwear, I couldn’t help but gush over the collection and wanted every piece. 3d knits and gossamer fine knit dresses, truly technical mastery. Sometimes the images say a lot, but I think in this case the glory is in the detail and up close. Fresh eyes with old technoques too. So beautiful!!

  11. I love this article. I just read the BoF article on this issues of fast fashion and he mentioned what taste was a matter of experience and here in this article I was so glad to see you admit your liking for the collection came from a matter of taste and experience. Clearly the two have unparalleled connections.
    Just read your article on the BoF website as well, great job!

  12. I really agree that being at a show can impact the way a person will understand a collection! After all, it is only with the set, music, atmosphere…etc that you can perceive the full experience that the designer is trying to convey.
    That said, some designers can convey equally powerful emotions just by images of the clothing alone. Galliano did it in a very dramatic and opulent way, but Raf’s work is just as evocative in its ‘minimalist’ elegance

  13. I had a problem with this contrast too, until I saw my first fashion show. And I though it was great. And later, just seeing the photos, did not evoke anything of what I had felt during the show.
    So in the end, much is about the show. But great clothes can be seen in the pictures too. And I wanted to thank you for these pictures.
    As much as I like Raf and his clean esthetic, I though this collection was borderline kitsch, judging by the pictures I have seen. That shiny organza photographs weirdly.
    But your close up pictures do them justice, and capture their spirit more than a video or really big pictures. I finnaly saw the layering of shiny fabric, and those mesmerizing details.
    Doesn’t compare to the real thing, but it’s better to the objectivity factor.

  14. I like your perspective on knowing that you want to love what you love – instead of being a formal fashion critic. The great thing about fashion and style is that it really is a ‘to each their own’ type of thing.
    Everyone’s experiences and inspirations lead them to enjoy certain looks or details and dislike others – and that’s the fun of it!

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