Miss A Columnist

Francesca Federico is a senior undergraduate student at New York University, majoring in Global Liberal Studies and minoring in Classical Music and French. She has been studying in Paris since August 2012, at NYU's campus as well as with the Paris Conservatory. An opera singer and harpist, Francesca is interested in pursuing both fashion and classical music in her later life. She created her blog, The Minx, in 2009, and uses it as a visual diary of her travels and evolving personal style. Her favorite designers include Marni, Dior, Rochas, Theyskens Theory and Tsumori Chisato. Francesca is also an avid writer of both poetry and prose, having been published in Mexico City's Ofi Press magazine, as well as the Jacket2 experimental poetry journal out of the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently at work on her third novel. She is glad to have moved back to New York this fall, although her wanderlust is eternal.

Raf Simons And The New Look Of Dior


Raf Simons is making quite a splash at Dior (Photo Credit: Thirdlooks.com)

It’s no secret that Raf Simons has made quite a splash at the legendary house of Dior.  In contrast to his predecessor, John Galliano, whose Dior girl could be described as “pirate bride from the Moulin Rouge”, Simons’ first job after assuming creative control was to take a step back.  Often called a minimalist, in part because of his background as the creative director of Jil Sander, Simons’ challenge was to market an entire international brand that will continue to inspire the way women want to dress.  Using the archives of Monsieur Dior carefully, Simons has stripped down the silhouettes that made the house famous, and reinterpreted them for the twenty-first century.

Raf Simons' Fall 2013 outing has cemented his place at Dior (credit: The Sartorialist)

Raf Simons’ Fall 2013 outing has cemented his place at Dior (Photo Credit: The Sartorialist)

This is not to say anything negative about Galliano.  He was and still is a legendary artist.  It is only to say that the two have very different sensibilities.  Simons takes on several themes during a season, and holds onto them with a vice grip.  Each reference he makes within a show is carefully calculated, proportioned, and then fed into the garments. The result is a razor-sharp vision that combines the wholly feminine style of the house with intellectual and modern details that assure longevity for Simons’ career.  In an article by Marc Holgate at Vogue, Simons said that, “You go to Chanel, and you recognize the codes, the woman, straight away,” he explains a day or so after the show. “But the Dior woman? Except for some dresses and the full skirts, it would be hard to pull her out of a crowd. Those jackets, which women can wear the way they want, it’s something I want to build on. People told me afterward, ‘Wow, it’s clear where you want to go.’ ” This doesn’t mean that the Dior woman isn’t recognizable, simply that the silhouettes can be interpreted by many people in many different ways. This is integral to the preservation of such an iconic house, because each woman has her own opinion as to what the word “Dior” really means.

Dior Fall 2013 handbags were ladylike with a 1960s sensibility

Dior Fall 2013 handbags were ladylike with a 1960s sensibility (Photo Credit: Purseblog.com)

Make no mistake, however; Simons’ clothes are still the ultimate in aspirational dressing. His fall/winter 2013 show was an ode to surrealism versus sobriety, and included references to René Magritte, Andy Warhol, and the New Look patterns that made Christian Dior a household name. His accessories line from the same season showcased a line of sunglasses in pastel shades and exaggerated cat-eye shapes (video here) that played to a Jackie Kennedy-esque sensibility, while his shoes were wholly surreal, featuring an inverted heel and holographic textures. One thing is certain: Raf Simons’ first outings have caught the fashion world by storm, and there is no doubt that, come next Paris Fashion Week, men and women will be hanging on his every sartorial movement.

Dior's quirky heel shapes will be sure to inspire many knockoffs come next season (Credit: Huffingtonpost.com)

st Dior’s quirky heel shapes are sure to inspire many knockoffs come next season (Photo Credit: Huffingtonpost.com)


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