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Raf Simons took his foot off the intellectual pedal for his Christian Dior spring-summer 2014 couture show Monday. The result? One of the best, and most archetypally “couture” collections in seasons.

Layers, transparencies, abstract scoops and elliptical cutouts gave a diaphanous, weightless feel to silhouettes that literally floated by.

See-through paper-like holes provided - very slightly - a hidden, voyeuristic sensuality.

The plain, white cave-like decor, meanwhile, curved to evoke the idealized female form, and subtly echoed this sensuality.

Gone were the ambitious, myriad flower arrangements of previous seasons, as was the bustling garden imagery in the clothes; and in the place of the rainbow color palette was simple white, pastels and dark ink blue.

Simple was the word.

But the sign of a master designer is a collection that looks simple, but hides its true complexity.

One looks with as many as five layers of depth was testament to this. The program notes indeed describe this collection as one of the most labor-intensive ever produced.


It’s taken almost 60 years, but eccentric Elsa Schiaparelli - the rival of Coco Chanel - is finally back on the Place Vendome.

Monday saw the highly-anticipated first haute couture show from the revived house, designed by former Rochas helmsman Marco Zanini. He had an admirable stab at it.

The first look, a Napoleon hat with a draped royal blue dress invoked revolution, imitating Eugene Delacroix’s famed painting “Liberty leading the people.”

An all-black cinched washed silk look was worn by a model with the big dipper constellation on her head, transforming the clothes into the sky at night. References were sometimes overly literal, sometimes overly reverential.

But it’s a gargantuan task to fill the shoes of a woman considered to be one of the most influential fashion figures of the early 20th century.

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