Raf Simons's first ads for Dior came out today, and some parts of them are familiar: Like the set of Simons's first Dior ready-to-show, the backdrop consists of filmy, pastel-colored curtains fluttering from blank white walls with windows cut into them. Bouquets of colorful flowers allude to the bloom-covered chambers where Simons's first couture collection took place. He's clearly sticking close to the motifs he established at his first two runway shows.
But the ads are still surprising. First off, the clothes seem almost like an afterthought, receding into the surrealist jumble of horizon lines and Magritte-like clouds. The different components of the image don't relate to one another in space. Shot by Willy Vanderperre, who worked with Simons on many Jil Sander campaigns, the models — Anna Martynova, Marie Piovesan, Daiane Conterato, and Daria Strokous — are well-known but not overtly recognizable. No one steals the show. We're looking at tableaux here, not portraits or shots of products.
Finally, there's the intricate furniture and light figures, which stand out starkly against the white background. That anemone-like wall sconce is probably some highbrow reference to an archival Dior moment — the New Look era, perhaps — but it's also the most striking thing about these pictures, and emerges as the campaign's unlikely star. Too bad it's not for sale.