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Raf Simons Throws a Garden Party for Dior

The designer took Dior back to the Musée Rodin for his Spring 2014 collection, and the results were as pretty as ever.

The celebrity front row quotient was down at Dior—and that was a good thing. Because all anyone could keep their eyes on before the show, which took place in the garden of the Musée Rodin, were tropical hothouse florals hanging down from the rafters of a temporary structure. You surely saw the hundreds of Instagram shots—I myself posted three images from Fashionista’s account, and another from my personal.

Yet as the music swelled, all eyes dotted to the runway. And they didn’t leave it until the grand finale.

“I wanted a sense this season of a particular group of women, a distinct new tribe, sophisticated and savage at the same time,” designer Raf Simons said in the show notes. “I wanted to feel that you wouldn’t know quite where these women were coming from and where they were going to, that they exist in a new place of change and possibility.”

Simons’s work is always about the new in a medium where fresh ideas are scarce. His accomplishment—and the reason he is currently fashion’s most intriguing designer—is that he is able to create challenging, otherworldly clothes that also spur desire.

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For day, Simons returned yet again to the tuxedo, pairing this season’s iteration with floral silk shorts and skirts in complementary, but not matching, prints. Two shirt dresses in blue banker-stripe cotton looked particularly fresh from the back, where they were embellished with crystals. Tulip-skirt-and-top combos were pretty on their own, but made to look extraordinary with the dripping crystal necklaces that resembled the hothouse flowers coming down from the ceiling. He also added private-school-style crests illustrated with florals and houndstooth to jackets done in sky blue cotton, creating a sort of badge of honor for his new tribe of women.

Simons had plenty of fun with evening as well—his striped silk dresses with tulip skirts and racer backs were great day-to-night numbers. And the finale, a series of multi-colored metallic and navy and black tuxes will be welcomed on the red carpet with open arms.

But it was the grey silk bustier dress decorated with clusters of colorful beads and swathed in a sash of pleated silk that defined the show for me. It was interesting, and beautiful, and above all, new.

Photos: IMAXtree