According to the show notes—and Raf’s own words—the key descriptor for this new era at Dior is “freedom.” But freedom from all restraint ultimately leads to the excess of self-destruction. What we saw today, by contrast, suggested an appreciation of the power of limits. How much more inspiring is discipline than free rein. That much was already clear, by the way, in the dress rehearsal that was Simons’ Couture show in July.
Still, Simons’ genuine, deep-seated affection for the tropes of couture is one of the qualities that has given a potent edge to all his design for the past few years. His full-skirted finale—the severe black silk-cashmere knit top, the erotic, iridescent balloon of floral-printed satin duchesse—distilled history into a special kind of twenty-first-century glamour.