Opening the show, a model in satin pants clutched a black and white striped hat at his side. He marched past in a coat that harked back to the Napoleonic era — through its A-line shape, and long cravate-like collar tied in a knot.
With subtlety, 45-year-old Simons thus took the codes of the early 19th century and served them up with a bright and youthful feel for his fall-winter 2013-2014 offering.
The Belgian designer emphasized necks through large pointed pink, blue and yellow collars — shirts often on top of turtlenecks which ruffled in a dandy style. This mixed imaginatively with strong and wide open collars — that again added the feeling of exuberant layering.
Shoulders, too, were given emphasis.
Long colored horizontal bars on the front, which joined the shoulders, worked brilliantly — and resembled the straps that held a cape in place.
But Simons is a master of subversion.
There were no capes here, and though many of the looks harked back to yesteryear, they remained contemporary and in the spirit of his intellectual style.
A recurrent motif was a knitted face on a geeky-looking sweater; instead of hair, it sported a question mark.
It was an appropriate symbol for the indefatigable designer and current creative director of Christian Dior, who always surprises and never seems to stop questioning fashion.
Thomas Adamson can be followed at http://Twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP