- Associated Press - Friday, September 28, 2012

PARIS (AP) - Spring signals new beginnings. Not only in statement-making prints and new colors _ as the Paris spring-summer 2013 season has shown _ but in bold ideas that remap the fashion landscape.

One such revamp came in the form of Raf Simons.

The anticipation around the Belgian’s ready-to-wear debut at Dior was palpable: Crowds spilled into the all-white edifice at the Hotel des Invalides and actor Robert de Niro, director Luc Besson and designer Diane Von Furstenberg lined the front row.

And the designer did not disappoint _ evolving his own minimalist style with whimsical exuberance and also that of the iconic house, whose codes he mastered, then subverted.

Taking the trend of color spliced with summer black, his pale palette came in yellows, greens, pink and metallic blue.

Brighter hues were served up by Roland Mouret, the master of va-va-voom, and Anne Valerie Hash whose unified collections boasted vibrancy, yet, still, never strayed too far from the black, that’s now a mainstay for 2013.

Issey Miyake, meanwhile, picked back up of the popular trend of color-blocking to kaleidoscopic effect.

Saturday’s shows include dutch design duo Viktor & Rolf and the fashion queen of England, Vivienne Westwood.



Freedom was at the heart of Raf Simons’ outing for Dior _ a confident show that twinned the essence of the 1950’s “New Look,” with the liberated hemlines of the 1960s.

Simons _ a minimalist _ is in many ways the stark opposite of Christian Dior, the exuberant house founder who favored longer ankle-length silhouettes.

But Friday’s free, liberating display shows that in spirit _ if not perhaps in silhouette _ they meet eye to eye.

Simons took the “New Look” bar jacket, in black, gray and white and sent it down the catwalk often bare-legged, with the hemlines of the sexual revolution.

It was the same rebellious mood with which Christian Dior founded the house in 1947: His long-length “New Look” shocked the fashion world in its indulgent use of material _ a backlash against wartime fabric rationing.

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