PARIS — Freedom was at the heart of Belgian designer Raf Simons' debut ready-to-wear outing for Christian Dior — a confident show that twinned the essence of the 1950's "New Look," with the liberated hemlines of the 1960s.
Simons, a minimalist, is in many ways the stark opposite of Christian Dior, the exuberant house founder who favored longer ankle-length silhouettes.
But Friday's free, liberating display shows that in spirit — if not perhaps in silhouette — they meet eye to eye.
Simons took the "New Look" bar jacket, in black, gray and white and sent it down the catwalk often bare-legged, with the hemlines of the sexual revolution.
It was the same rebellious mood with which Christian Dior founded the house in 1947: His long-length "New Look" shocked the fashion world in its indulgent use of material — a backlash against wartime fabric rationing.
"The foundation of the house is a reaction to restrictions," said Simons. "I wanted to do that too."
Do it, he did — not forgetting to have fun on the way.
The strongest of the 53 looks were the highly wearable plays on the "bar."