One writer compared the sleeves of RAF SIMONS FALL/WINTER 2015-16 collection for the HOUSE OF DIOR to the obsession that CRISTOBAL BALENCIAGA (a contemporary of CHRISTIAN DIOR’s) had with sleeves. Balenciaga was relentless in his pursuit of perfect sleeves, and Simons does indeed pursue them as doggedly as Balenciaga did. But what Simons really doggedly pursues is a dedication to and new re-interpretation of Dior’s 1947 NEW LOOK. Nearly 70 years later, the look still inspires. Unlike JOHN GALLIANO’s lavish, theatrical and jaw-dropping re-interpretation of the same look when he was at Dior, Simons, quoted as saying, “Coming out of the austerity of the Second World War, Dior was inspired by something he wasn't supposed to be inspired by," he said. "Glamour, excess, too much," is more abstract and well, yes, wearable. Not that we didn't adore Galliano’s interpretation, but Simons makes us work just a little bit
harder to see the references. And does it brilliantly. Guided by HIERONYMUS BOSCH’s 16th century painting GARDEN OF EARTHLY DELIGHTS, Simons, Belgian himself, draws heavily upon the influence of Flemish painters and likens it to Dior’s heavy wools and velvety, and incorporates it into capes, cowls, and truly divine coats. Some, not unlike blankets with a single fur sleeve sewn in, some with massive collars, and some with a JULIET CAPULET feel to them, combined the 1600s with the 1940s, 1950s, and, surprisingly, the 1970s - all in a completely 21st Century look. Amusing, stunning, innovative and futuristic, this Fall/Winter collection is fantastical in the same way Bosch’s painting was, alluding to both heavenly visions as well as earthly delights. The heavenly visions were plentiful, but the earthly delights were sprinkled in as well, exhibiting and overt sexiness that is distinctly un-Simons-like. But as Simons winds down his career at Dior, anything can happen.