Public Domain: Christian Dior Spring 2014

Raf Simons is in bridge-building mode at Dior, as he has been during his three seasons as creative director. For spring he attempted to bridge several chasms: the label’s archives and his forward-minded aesthetic; the house’s big-money clients and the cult-like following of his own men’s line; a feeling of couture and a sense of effortlessness; and a 50s sensibility and the racial politics of now (earlier this year he was publicly criticized for the lack of racial diversity on his Dior runways).

The public works worked, for the most part. Shots of bright summery colors, as in floral prints, mixed with solid black were winsome looks. A recurring crest motif held curious interest, as did experiments with the house’s Bar jacket. Exaggerated, sculpted hips and waists recalled Dior’s famed New Look silhouettes, in a bold and confident way.

Occasionally, however, a bridge went too far. Fan pleating and bandage tops didn’t feel particularly novel, while several dresses seemed to be pulled in two directions, figuratively and literally. And the ending parade of silvery jacquard dresses and black suits, a Dior trademark, felt like enforced uniformity rather than a bounty of options.

It may never be possible to please all the people all the time. But as a globetrotting Hillary Clinton has shown, diplomacy is almost always the right course of action when seeking — and winning — the highest office in the land.

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