by Alex R. Travers
It was Dior’s first Pre-Fall runway show and its Belgian designer, Raf Simons, wanted to present the collection in an urban landscape in Japan. The street would have worked, but it wasn’t practical. So instead he chose Tokyo’s Ryōgoku sumo stadium, a venue where many buy tickets to watch sporting events and music concerts.
Ryōgoku Kokugikan was a space large enough to realize Simons’ abstraction, his aesthetic of Dior today, which is almost an elegant artifice that uses his obsession with the past to mold the future of fashion (and femininity). For this collection, he was most interested in outerwear. Like jackets and three-quarter-length coats. Except life glittered underneath their surfaces. The outfits had a pliant quality that rattled the perceptions and collapsed boundaries between the past and present. For example, Dior’s traditional bar coat looked perfectly in place over a scaly sequined turtleneck. “It think it’s a bit more edgy,” he offered.
But for all the collection’s rigor, it was, ultimately, an exercise in beauty. The wintery snow falling from above seemed to evoke the kind of magnetism found in films like Keisuke Kinoshita’s Ballad of Narayama. And the shapes of the clothes did suggest the “Esprit Dior,” the title of this Pre-Fall 2015 show. Tradition has never looked so attractively nontraditional.