With his venue for Dior’s latest couture collection, Raf Simons signaled a floral motif, one he has worked on and off during his tenure in homage to the house founder. Yet here he went for a non-Dior garden reference, Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights, a painting with which he’s long been fascinated. “For many years I wanted to do something with it but I never really knew, I think, how to deal with it in terms of not making it heavily weighted with history and the like,” he said. Life is full of contrasts, “very hard and very soft, very dark and very light, very angelic to very sexual.”
He put them all on the runway to exquisite effect. On the angelic side: pristine filmy white dresses; one was utterly simple save for cuffs embroidered with feathers. Some wafted freely, others were partially hidden under bold cape-coat hybrids, each with a single, dramatic fur sleeve. On the sexual side, intricately wrought columns opened all the way up the sides and fastened with jewelry links.