Designers search for their influences far and wide, but for Dior's creative director Raf Simons, it was 16th century Dutch painter Hieronymous Bosch who provided the goods for his A/W '15/16 haute couture presentation. Simons described the elaborate painted glass and scaffolding structure as "a garden of earthly delights" (nymag.com) and from the forbidden fruits that littered the purple-tinged catwalk to the ethereal creations that floated down the runway - the Garden of Eden references came thick and fast.
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Held at the Musée Rodin in Paris, Simons took the heaven and hell themes of Hieronymous Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights triptych seriously, showcasing a collection made of dreamy, light-as-air dresses fit for a fairy queen which juxtaposed with the dark and sexy gowns featuring deep side-or-sleeve slits and one almost-austere-looking black dress with a nipped in waist and full skirt reminiscent of the iconic Dior New Look silhouette.
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While use of religious iconography can often be cliché, Simon's subtle use of chain mail in long swinging necklaces and as an embellished overlay for some of the prettier frocks gave the sweetness of the dresses a new dimension. Even though pastels and painterly florals featured heavily, there was a seasonal nod to winter with the dramatic overcoat/cape hybrids which were fitted with an asymmetrical fur sleeve, and cut in rich colours like royal blue, burgundy and chocolate. As always, the set was as magical and breathtaking as the couture, and despite the biblical overtures - Simon's knack for clean silhouettes gave us the impression that he only ever had a modern-day Eden in mind.