Raf Simons unveils second Dior collection

PARIS - Belgian designer Raf Simons' keenly anticipated second collection for Christian Dior received an enthusiastic welcome Friday, less than a year after he took over from the disgraced John Galliano.

On day four of Paris fashion week, Simons made sure there was no shortage of classic Dior glamour.

Raf Simons pour Christian Dior (photo Pixel Formula)

Coats in tweed, leather or cashmere and silk bustier dresses featured all the essential Dior elements with nipped waists, soft shoulders and full skirts.

But in other looks, Simons said he drew on his love of art, a passion which Christian Dior also shared.

"Christian Dior started his career as a gallerist and represented both Dali and Giacometti early on," he said in a statement.

"The connection to certain periods of time is also significant, his obsession with the Belle Epoque in his case; the mid-century modern in mine," he added.

Hence, silk bustier dresses in 1920s shift shapes featured Andy Warhol prints such as "Female Head 1958" and "High Heel 1956".

"For me Warhol made so much sense. I was interested in the delicacy and sensitivity in the early work he did," he said.

"I was drawn to that graphic style naturally.... It was that notion of hand work and personal signature that fitted throughout."

Elsewhere, Simons continued the asymmetry that he began in his haute couture collection in January, notably with a voluminous red wool coat and pale grey silk cape and blue denim wool skirt.

Japanese fashion house Issey Miyake, meanwhile, presented a shimmering, landscape-inspired collection of vibrant checks and stripes.

In a departure from the restrained palettes of many of the other collections for autumn/winter 2013, bright hues of green, pink and blue dominated the show Friday.

Aerial landscapes reflected in the clothes were described by the house as "an ever-changing mosaic of vibrantly coloured flower meadows, fields of golden wheat, the dark green of forests, the reflections of deep mirrored lakes, creating moving chequered patterns".

With the emphasis on clothes and fabric matching "the shape and movement of the body", there were flowing flared skirts, voluminous coats and double breasted jackets.

Colours were not the only cheering aspect of the show with models instructed backstage to abandon catwalk norms and "smile", a spokeswoman said.

Eye-catching designs included shimmering floor-length striped skirts in red and lilac or blue and green with low waistbands and polo-neck tops as well as wide-legged trousers with striped side pleats.

Later Friday, Japan's Yohji Yamamoto, one of the world's most influential designers, rounded off the day.

Ethereal-looking models in black bobbed wigs wore a characteristically Yamamoto black-dominated, avant garde collection to the sound of John Lennon and The Beatles.

Among the less experimental looks was a black trouser suit with wide flared pants, pointy lapels, waistcoast, white tie and trilby.

In another, white tapered trousers were worn with a wool-fringed black jacket and woolly wide-brimmed hat.

Other Japanese designers at Paris fashion week include Tsumori Chisato whose show takes place on Saturday and Junko Shimada, scheduled for Tuesday.

Nine days of ready-to-wear fashion for autumn/winter 2013/2014 featuring nearly 90 shows and presentations are due to wrap up on Wednesday.

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