Dior’s New Face On the First Couture Show Post Raf Simons

Camille Rowe at the Dior couture show in Paris on Monday. Photo: Getty Images

Imagine getting a golden ticket to the Chocolate Factory only knowing Willy Wonka is no longer in the house. Receiving my Christian Dior couture ticket was a similar bittersweet experience, despite the obvious grandeur of the event held in the manicured gardens of the Rodin museum.

This was Dior’s first couture show since the voluntary stepping down of its highly respected artistic director Raf Simons, for personal reasons, after a brief three-and-half-year tenure at the house. (Simons had filled the hallowed and highly coveted spot left by disgraced couturier John Galliano who was dismissed by the French fashion house in 2011 after making anti-Semetic slurs.)

Would a couture show sans Simons have the same spark? Scoping out the well-heeled crowd, it seemed that the obvious A-listers like Rihanna and Emilia Clarke were sitting the season out, but the brand’s pulling power was clearly still intact with style royalty including Cressida Bonas, Erin O'Connor and Lucie de la Falaise. They glided through the gardens to take their front row pew, disappearing through a wall of silver panels.

Inside the venue, the mirror-mirror set, with vast panels forming a circular runway, clearly honored the modernist imprint made by the designer. As the lights dimmed, so too did the collection with its clean lines, precise decoration, and pared down takes on the Bar jackets, with striking off-the-shoulder versions opening the show.

Led by Simons disciples Serge Ruffieux and Lucie Meier, the design team stayed within the framework installed by the former artistic director with lean silhouettes and tailoring with slight, controlled curves. But at times the collection seemed to meander, lacking a definitive point of view. Maybe that’s what happens when you have a team of people calling the shots instead of one person who knows exactly what he wants?

So what was the front row verdict? Yahoo Style tailed model Camille Rowe — herself dressed in a modern bottle-green pantsuit from Simons’s reign — to share her impressions. The French-American has a bit of an insider take as the face of the house’s new fragrance Poison Girl, also starring in the new teaser campaign video.

Yahoo Style: You braved a snowstorm to get here from New York, was it worth it? What were some of your favorite looks?

Camille Rowe: So much snow! I was blocked in my house for two days with nothing but sugar-free vegan muffins to eat - so depressing! I was delayed by a day but I made it! The show was beautiful! I loved the first two dresses with the décolleté necklines, there was also a beautiful knitted see-through dress that I liked. The ruffles on the sleeves were incredible. And it was so nice to see everyone come out together at the end.

What about the accessories?

I was a little unsure about the shoes with the ankle ribbons at first, but by the end of the show I was really into them. I’m looking forward to trying them!

You look great, is it stressful deciding what to wear to a couture show?

Thank you, I do like a good pantsuit. I try not to put any pressure on myself. If I don’t feel comfortable wearing something I just won’t wear it. I have been to a lot of fashion shows just wearing jeans - I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. I love Dior clothes so much I’m really happy to wear the brand, but it’s never a question of pressure.

Do you have any anecdotes from shooting the campaign video for the new fragrance?

We shot all over New York over several nights. And I’m not a night person so it involved a lot of caffeine! We shot a lot at The Standard, The Boom Boom Room, and at the Trump Hotel…

Are you a fan of Trump?

Donald? No! [Snorts.]

How was it working with the director, Bertrand Lagros de Langeron [aka So Me]?

He’s this young French director. We’ve known each other since I was 16, when I first started going out in Paris. This is kind of like his first big fashion campaign, he does mostly music videos. So we had really good energy together we’ve know each other so long, it was really fun. He kept telling me, ‘No you have to put your head down and look up; you have to be a little cat.’ So then we had this banter going on where I kept meowing at him.

The fashion campaign scene tends to be dominated by major photographers and directors, is it good to see some new blood coming through?

You know I think Dior does that a lot, they give opportunities to more edgy directors and photographers and it’s really cool to be associated with that.

What are you planning on wearing tonight for the fragrance launch party?

I’m going to wear this pretty sexy metallic dress, it’s very short. It’s a little more elaborate, very playful and girly.

Are you into fashion in your daily life?

I’m really into vintage, I collect kimonos and have a ton of vintage t-shirts with fun slogans; I do like a raunchy message!

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