Rihanna's always a big experimenter with fashion, and her latest turn on the red carpet in London was no different. The singer made an appearance at Westfield in London to switch on the inaugural Christmas lights, donning a structured oversize blue coat from Raf Simons and a striped top and pants straight off Acne's Spring '13 menswear runway collection. Not many women can pull off wearing actual men's clothing, but we think the performer pretty much nailed the cool menswear vibe. To temper her oversize proportions, Rihanna kept her look clean with a sharp collared Simons button-down layered underneath her striped top and finished off her look with suede point-toe pumps, gorgeous gold statement rings, a cool coif, and her signature red lips. Take a closer look at her outfit in the slideshow and tell us what you think about her statement stripes in the comment section below.
Interviews with Raf Simons are few and far between, but the new creative director of Dior says it's not because he's press-shy. "I don't know where you got the idea that I'm aloof," he says in the December issue of Vogue Australia.
Far from aloof, Simons is almost effusive, touching on everything from John Galliano (he says he doesn't find his designs "relevant") to his vision for Dior's future. He also talks about making the transition from Jil Sander to one of the most coveted jobs in fashion and how he wants to change couture. Highlights from the interview below.
On John Galliano: "I have so much respect for John's technical skill and the fantasy, it's just something that I don't find relevant now, especially when it restricts a woman, because in every other area they have so much freedom now."
On getting the Dior job and his sudden departure from Jil Sander: "I'm not going to lie to you. We [Bernard Arnault, head of LVMH, and Sidney Toledano, president of Dior] had been talking for months about the job, but talks happen all the time in this business. That doesn't mean something is necessarily going to come out of it. . . I felt more like a psychiatrist than a designer in the end [at Jil Sander], just to keep my team's spirits up."
On his final show at Jil Sander: "That final collection was not in any way an audition for the Dior job. It was just something I wanted to do."
On Dior's impact on fashion: "The more I analyzed the pieces, the more I realized how many people have built their careers on Christian Dior's patterns, from Yohji Yamamoto and Comme des Garcons onwards. What he achieved in 10 years at his house is unprecedented."
On what he's trying to accomplish: "I want to get away from couture just being done for a picture, or for a single moment on the red carpet. I want to try and convince women that couture can be worn in the day and that there's a reality and a relevance there, because that's what Mr. Christian Dior wanted. In my opinion, Christian Dior was never, ever theater."
Photo courtesy of Dior, via Vogue Australia.
Raf Simons has selected 22-year-old actress Jennifer Lawrence as the next face of Dior's iconic Miss Dior handbag, making her the youngest ambassador the brand has ever signed. Her campaign for the bag will appear in March 2013.
"Like everyone else, I first discovered Jennifer Lawrence in the roles she played in action movies," Simons said. "Her youth and her classic beauty, but also her force of character and the complexity she's capable of embodying at such a young age, are, for me, both unique and very moving."
Lawrence, who sat front row at Simons's debut show for Dior in July, and recently appeared on the cover of British Vogue, acknowledged that "it's impossible to be in the industry without getting even the slightest introduction to fashion." She added, "It's such a dream to represent an iconic brand that is synonymous with high fashion."
She's not the only actress who's taken on the role of Miss Dior. Marion Cotillard has been its face since 2008 and will continue working with the brand. Mila Kunis starred in a print and video campaign for the bag this year.
Photo: Jennifer Lawrence wearing Dior at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 8, 2012.
Well, that was fun: another Fashion Month has come and gone. Now that we've had time to regroup, it seems like this one was a lot more eventful than seasons past. Certainly a lot of the excitement had to do with the new arrivals at Dior and Saint Laurent, but those weren't the only happenings that caused a stir this month. From the critic who got into public spats with two high-profile designers to the most recognizable accessory of the season, we examine the reasons why the Spring 2013 collections will stick out in our minds for years to come.
No one ever said ushering in a new era would be easy. But at Thursday's Spring 2013 Christian Dior show in Paris, Raf Simons made it look nearly effortless. And after 18 months of scandal, drama, and anticipation, that's really no small feat. Just imagine the pressure Simons must have felt.
Not that it showed. Simons is a designer who knows himself and trusts his aesthetic, so this was a collection that felt confident, elegant, and controlled. Blazers, dresses, and even ball gowns came in shapes that were pared-down and wearable, while fabrics like iridescent nylon and tech lace-mesh added just a hint of futurism. But for all his modern minimalism, Simons is also a designer who possesses a remarkable ability for exploring and reworking the past. His understanding of Dior's archives was obvious in July with his initial Couture offering, and, let's face it, it was obvious last season with his breathtaking swan song at Jil Sander, too. "People think Christian Dior was about constriction, and technically, with the New Look's corseting, it was," Simons said backstage. "But in a psychological sense, it was about liberating women, allowing them to be romantic again, and to fantasize about their image." With Simons at the helm, it's safe to say that Dior is well on track to being liberated too.
The new venue Hotel National des Invalides had "Dior" written simply, dramatically across the front as a fashion crowd that included everyone from Kanye to Leelee Sobieski made their way inside for Raf Simons's latest lineup. That in itself is a big way to start a show — the evidence of some pretty high expectations for Simons's Spring debut, which happily lived up to the hype. Raf knows how to excite, but it's not for show either; it's modern and wearable, giving Dior a contemporary edge that hasn't been there for a long time. Hemlines were shorter and dresses were sexier, though the most obvious nods to the future were in Raf's pearlescent, iridescent fabrications that covered tops and microminis. It was an awesome play with proportions and silhouettes that Simons masterfully crafted with reimagined suiting — blazers as dresses, slashed pleats, new iterations of Dior's ladylike jackets. Then, the collection gave way to the real head-turners, minimalist shifts and strapless A-line dresses electrified with a flash of neoprene and a whimsical, pearl-like shimmer. The sheer and lace overlays were both entirely feminine but not girlie or precious; they were cool. Even the eveningwear was cool: uniquely crafted and displays of tulle and embellishment used sparingly, just enough to spark interest on — but not overwhelm — a black cocktail dress. For the finale, we got a little more volume and glamour, but it was all elegant and tempered, giving us the most modern rendition of the ballgown with slim, semisheer tops and full skirts covered in iridescent florals. These may be the pieces the Hollywood set turns to for dressing up, but the collection in its entirety proved Raf is adept at building a collection and a design house capable of far more. The pieces in this lineup could take you well beyond red-carpet appearances and the elite cocktail-party circuit (if, of course, you can afford a piece).
- Trends: Iridescent fabrications, suiting, stripes, sheer and lace overlay, asymmetrical cuts, and peplum.
- Colors: Iridescent pastels, charcoal gray, black, white, a flash of bright citron, orange, and fuchsia.
- Key Piece: The pearlescent dresses and tops were brilliant; we also loved the smart, sexy plays on suiting.
- Accessories: Scarves, pointed-toe pumps, metallic heels, metal cuffs, classic handbags.
- Who Should Wear It: The iridescent violet asymmetrical mini was made for Diane Kruger; attendee Leelee Sobieski should wear the white blazer-style dress.
Raf Simons and Hedi Slimane have widely been regarded as rivals thanks to the timing of their appointments at Dior and Yves Saint Laurent, respectively, but how will these newcomers challenge other, more established designers in Paris?
"I think it's something that a lot of people are feeling and thinking about, and I love competition because it moves me forward," said Alber Elbaz during a preview of Lanvin's Spring 2013 show. "You know, I'm not a jealous person. I'm only jealous of people who can eat and don't gain weight. It motivates all of us to work harder and find solutions."
Ron Frasch, chief merchandising officer of Saks Fifth Avenue, put a finer point on how Simons and Slimane will force other designers to push their own boundaries.
"Everyone's going to be looking not to be outshone," he said. "You're talking about supercompetitive designers. Believe me, they're going to want to up their game."
"There was a time when designers hated other designers," Alber Elbaz said in a recent interview with WSJ. Magazine. "But today there is actually major respect between many of us. We understand each other. We are all going through the same stressful process. Before shows we send each other little cards with congratulations; we send each other flowers. We're kind of a crazy family, but still a family. There are many designers I really respect and love. I love Azzedine (Alaïa). I like Narciso (Rodriguez) and Marc (Jacobs) and Nicolas (Ghesquiére) from Balenciaga. The first collection Raf Simons did for Dior was gorgeous. I'm not jealous of people — I'm only jealous of people who can eat and not gain weight. I respect talent. When I see talent and when I see a good person who comes with the talent, I melt."
Milan Fashion Week's official calendar will have one notable exception this September: Jil Sander.
Instead, according to a report in La Repubblica, Sander will stage two independent showings because this season's calendar couldn't give her an ideal time. Milan Fashion Week is scheduled to run between Sept. 19 to 25, but many of the shows will take place between Sept. 19 and 23 due to fear that buyers and editors will leave Milan early to go to Paris Fashion Week.
"I'm sorry not to have Jil Sander on the calendar," said Mario Boselli, president of the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana. "We've been friends a long time and now that the queen of minimalism has returned to design for the brand that bears her name, we would have liked to have her with us."
Sander showed her first collection for the house since 2004 this July during Men's Fashion Week in Milan.
Roopal Patel's Departure, Diane von Furstenberg's Swim Collaboration, and Jacquetta Wheeler's Wedding
Those stories and more in our daily news roundup.
- Roopal Patel, who had been fashion director of Moda Operandi since November 2011, quietly left the position at the beginning of the Summer. Patel has been vacationing in Corsica and Saint-Tropez while considering her next career move. [WWD]
- If home is where the heart is, then Joan Smalls's heart is with her family in Puerto Rico. [Vogue]
- Diane von Furstenberg will partner with Roxy on a lower-priced line of swimsuits, bags, cover-ups, and other beach essentials. [FabSugar]
- Leandra Medine, better known as the Man Repeller, has broken down how her popular style blog makes money. "I have a storefront, but that generates no more than 10 percent. Ads must be 30 percent. Collaborations bring in 60 percent," she says. [Business of Fashion]
- Actress Rachel Weisz is the second woman to wear a dress from Raf Simons's premiere collection for Christian Dior in public. [The Cut]
- Christian Siriano will open his first store in New York's Nolita neighborhood, just in time for Fashion's Night Out. [Refinery29]
- Speaking of store openings, Tadashi Shoji celebrated the opening of its new Shanghai flagship store last week. [Fashionologie Inbox]
- Model Jacquetta Wheeler celebrated her nuptials at an ancient English country castle. [Vogue]