New Dior Book Chronicles Raf Simons Years
PAST AND THE FUTURE New coffee table book chronicles the history of America Raf Simons’ three-year tenure at Dior, when his creations fused the French fashion house’s heritage with his streamlined cuts and taste for adventurous materials.
The 6th volume of this series, published by Assouline in a 344 page tome, is available from Assouline. Dior It is publishing a book chronicling the creative directors of the brand. Its cover features a lipstick red coat, inspired by Dior’s signature Bar jacket, from Simons‘ fall 2012 haute couture collection, described by WWD as “one of the most highly anticipated designer debuts ever.”
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The book, written by fashion journalist Tim Blanks features photos by Laziz Hamani alongside images from Tim Walker, Paolo Roversi and Peter Lindbergh.
The introduction describes the Belgian designer’s upbringing in the small town of Neerpelt where he was starved of distractions, except for a record store that proved instrumental in finding kindred spirits. Television provided a gateway to fashion through programs like CNN’s “Style with Elsa Klensch.”
Simons graduated in industrial design and furniture in Genk in 1991. Attracted to the Antwerp Six’s energy, which put Belgium on international fashion maps, Simons interned with Walter Van Beirendonck. Walter then took Simons to Paris, where Simons discovered his passion for fashion at the Martin Margiela show.
Launched in 1995, his eponymous record label. shuttered last yearSimons’ early work, which merged counterculture symbols with reinterpretations uniforms, made him a cult menswear designer. Pieces from Simons’ early years often fetch high prices on resale sites and during auctions.
From 1997 onwards, his shows in Paris caused a sensation with his skinny tailoring, street casting and imposing runway venues such as La Grande Arche de la Défense.
Designer made his debut with women’s wear at Jil Sander. He was the artistic director of Jil Sander from 2005 to 2012 He presented a series of haute couture-inspired collections during his tenure.
A darling of critics and editors, prized for his exacting silhouettes and obsession with the here-and-now, Simons succeeded John Galliano at Dior after the British designer’s antisemitic comments and subsequent downfall. Simons brought a modernity to Dior, replacing the retro-tinged glitz Galliano had been promoting for 15 years.
He frequently referenced iconic designs like the Bar jacket, as well as floral motifs — but abstracted them and indulged his predilection for minimalism and futurism. “I’m not romantic about the past, I’m romantic about the future,” he once said.
Simons also made references to his passions, which he shared as a founder with Christian Dior. These included nature, gardens, design, and art. His collections for the house referenced artists including Andy Warhol and Sterling Ruby, translating the latter’s spray-painted canvases into duchess satin dresses.
His decision to leave the brand sent shockwaves through the industry, suggesting that designers of Simons’ generation were not willing to bend unthinkingly to the demands — and constraints — of mammoth global brands.
“I’m questioning a lot,” Simons said just before his last Dior show, referring to the palpable sense that the pace of fashion and the overheated runway system had reached a volatile tipping point. “I feel a lot of people are questioning. It’s a topic of discussion: Where are we going? It’s not only the clothes. It’s the clothes, it’s everything, the Internet.”
Simons, who spent three years at Calvin Klein before joining Prada in partnership with Miuccia, was appointed co-creative Director of Prada. Prada Since 2020. “Dior Raf Simons 2012-2015,” available in English or French, will be released worldwide on May 23. Retail price is 195 Euros, or $195.
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