I really like the Dior brand. Always have done. I’ve got a Dior coat (bought in a sale), some Dior Fusion trainers (bought on eBay) and a Dior shirt (bought in a vintage store). The first grown-up skincare I bought 38 years ago was Dior. I loved what John Galliano did there and I loved what Raf Simons did too.
I really feel I ought to say all that before I say how “hmmm…not sure” I felt watching large parts of the pre-summer 17 collection that the label showed at Blenheim Palace today. I felt the excitement was in the venue, the other events Dior has hosted, the celebrity audience, the new flagship that opens this week… but the clothes? Maybe not.
Dior is one of the Big Four labels that show their pre-collections in roving spectaculars (along with Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Gucci). But of the four, Dior is the only one without a single creative director to guide the brand image.
Not that this has seemed to be a problem so far. Lucie Meier and Serge Ruffieux have been doing a great stand-in job. The recent couture and RTW collections certainly didn’t suffer from the lack of a star name and the brand’s management has said that sales are doing just fine. Is management hoping Meier and Ruffieux will turn into a transformation team that can take the brand to a new level like Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli have at Valentino?
Maybe. Yet this new collection really seemed to lack something. I’m not saying all collections have to be groundbreaking. In fact, I sometimes wish more designers would avoid that approach and just try to make, well, nice clothes.
But I still expect them to be perfect (especially at Dior’s lofty price level) and I expect the models to look great. The spectacularly ugly hair and make-up here managed to make even new Dior beauty ambassador Bella Hadid look scary.
I did like some of the the footwear. Whoever’s designing that is doing a great job. But while the included some wearable dresses and appealing prints, they also featured some ugly trousers and odd mixes lacking both the instant cool of a Prada or Saint Laurent and also the instant wearability of a Diane Von Furstenberg or Bottega Veneta.
Admittedly, the Dior clothing customer (as opposed to the person who might buy the brand’s make-up, perfumes, sunglasses etc) is a fairly conservative individual who doesn’t necessarily want to be too far ahead-of-trend. I think she’ll find some of what she wants in the collection but not enough… this time at least.