If you've been following this week's fashion trends, you'll have notice one name everywhere: Dior. True, it was the Dior Cruise 2016 show. But there was an even bigger headline than the quintessential promenade of next year's look waiting in the wings.
Rihanna: the first 'non-white' face of Dior
Riri has the pop world at her feet. Anyone who's anyone has duetted with the beauty from Barbados, including Eminem and Jay-Z.
She's in the top five 'earners under 30 list', and eighth on the Forbes top 100 for 2014 (just the odd $48M last year). Now, she's looking to cement those positions as the face of Dior's Secret Garden IV, as of Monday (18th May, 2015).
There's is a teaser video of Rihanna on YouTube, for those who can't wait the weekend out.
But here's a spoiler alert. If you're familiar with Steven Klein's recent work, you'll know what to expect. The trademark dark mysticism of his mind, set somewhere between the past and future but not quite in the now blankets the shots...
...think Interview With The Vampire meets Scarlet O'Hara and you won't be a million miles off the mark.
Moving onto the show, the Dior Cruise 2016, itself and the influence of creative designer Raf Simons is starting the bleed through the whole range.
Set in Pierre Cardin's impressive Palace of Bubbles, the collection boasted a real feminine edge. Soft summer dresses paired with boots and high heels making the new collection effortlessly casual, but chic, to boot.
But it wasn't all about the clothes. Dior had their own makeup magi, Peter Philips, at the helm to say that little bit more than the wardrobe alone.
Less was definitely more á la Palais Bulles de Cardin. Soft tans, natural lip gloss, and luminous and transparent foundation was the order of the day. You might even say the collection had a rustic feel, especially against the backdrop of the terracotta burrows of the location.
Just in time for strawberries and cream!
The man behind the Dior Cruise 2016 Collection
It's been a learning curve for Raf Simons, who joined Dior just three years ago. After launching his own brand, now almost twenty years old, he spent the seven years prior to his arrival at the French fashion house in a similar role with Jil Sander.
In an interview with Business of Fashion's Imran Amed, he candidly expresses his reasons for the move across Europe to France.
His credibility as a designer is indisputable. But by comparison, his own label and that of Jil Sanders' German emporium are minnows compared with Dior.
One of the most 'scary' elements of taking such a huge leap, Simons relates, was just that: the scale.
When you're a creative genius, you not only want people to acknowledge your craft, but you want your talent before as many people as possible.
When Dior asked the Belgian to take on the role of creative director, it seemed that he'd finally get the chance to do just that. With the Couture range turning over in excess of one-and-a-half billion euros, there are few houses on the planet that could facilitate his required audience better.
One of the biggest influences in the new styles we see from Simons is modern life. Although he found himself inexplicably drawn to Christian Dior as he was training himself two decades ago, he rightly says women are so much different today than in the middle of last century.
While there always be an element of the founder of the fashion house he now works for turning over in Simons' mind, the look is very much his.
It's all about vision
Putting his own stamp on his collections did turn a few heads at first, and not everyone particularly liked what they saw. But with his focus on delivering the exclusivity a Dior customer expects and in a way that means they can live their life as they want it, the naysayers will eventually run out of breath.
And in strange end to this article, one of the biggest criticisms of Jil Sanders shows when Simons was there was a lack of coloured models. Not that it was Simons' choice, but Sanders and Dior are amongst two of a host of designers where white models prevail heavily on the catwalk.
Putting Rihanna in Pole Position for the brand should appease those critics, too. All in all, a very successful week on and off the catwalk for Dior, it has to be said. Good show!
Photo Credits - (Header) CC: "The Crystals Las Vegas 3" by Gryffindor
Via Wikimedia Commons - "The Crystals Las Vegas 3" by Gryffindor - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
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