PARIS - A garden within a garden was the setting for Christian Dior's flower-obsessed — and typically decadent — couture show.
Carrying on with the "flower women" theme of designer Raf Simons' last offering, landscape artist Martin Wirtz recreated a scented French garden replete with hazelnut trees and boxwood hedges, in an annex inside Paris' famed Jardin des Tuileries.
Spring was indeed in the air.
The flower theme was most obviously expressed in floral embroideries. And in this respect, the floral reference was less subtle than last season, which played more with the inverted flower silhouette of Dior's famous 1947 "New Look."
This was intentional.
"I wanted to do a very self-explanatory collection," Simons said. "I wanted it to ... be about the very idea of spring."
True enough, his spring-summer 2013 show saw multi-layered flower and butterfly appliques that increased — like a blossom — as the 47 looks progressed. It was a nice idea, but detailed gold, yellow and blue butterflies sometimes got the better of the silhouette, and detracted from the gowns.
The subtlety of the show was to be found, instead, in Simons' exploration of sections and layers through colour.
Apart from the staple hourglass shape that's familiar Dior territory, Simons experimented away from the house DNA, mainly to great effect, with colored sections on ensembles which seemed to grow in stages, like a plant shoot.
This produced some of the show's best looks, like strips of pale lemon, off white and pale lilac, which broke up one embroidered, black silk bustier.
Or a bright yellow silk dress with great angled sections.
One of the final looks in white saw the bottom of one silk ball skirt expand out at a line, like an organic growth spurt.
The green-thumbed musing was all very creative and produced many beautiful looks, but Raf Simons may do well to venture out of the garden for next season.
Follow Thomas Adamson at http://Twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP