Just when you think you can safely bet on Raf Simons, he throws a fringed and beaded wrench into the mix. Case in point: Monday's Fall 2014 Haute Couture collection in Paris. Where only months prior, the Belgian designer sent spectacularly pretty and feminine silk dresses and pants down a garden path runway, this round he showcased a decidedly more forward perspective, influenced by the seemingly infinite iterations of the modern woman. Perhaps Simons found time to read de Beauvoir in his scant free time.
There was a tiered dresses in red silk that conjured the image of a twirling matador; and an off-white and striped dress with a hemline like a Mexican tablecloth. Collarbones were often decorated with tubular necklaces that seem to reference sub-Saharan designs, while cloaks and kimonos morphed into outwear.
Only six months ago, Raf Simons' genius bloomed at Dior's 2014 spring Haute Couture presentation, a benchmark in the designer's prolific inaugural year at the storied Parisian house. Crops of svelte models, their hair doused and slick like petals after heavy summer rain, maneuvered their ways down a white runway edged with shrubbery, flowering with looks that evoked the unfurling of exotic fauna. Simons' designs honored the legacy of Dior and the innovation of silhouette that has made the name eponymous with tempered elegance.