Since he took over Dior Men in 2018, Kim Jones’ has made collaboration his modus operandi, enlisting artists, musicians and various talents within the Jones multiverse to lend their creative vim and vigour into the Dior mix. But for his new show during Paris fashion week, Jones struck up a dialogue of a different kind; with Monsieur Dior himself.
‘It feels like the ultimate collaboration; a conversation with Christian Dior himself,’ said Jones, choosing to stage the show on the day of Christian Dior’s birthday, to mark 75 years since founding the house. The codes and founding tenets that Dior created during his short career - he died just 11 years after making his debut in 1946 - have been frequently employed by Jones in his men’s offering; the tailoring that was intrinsic to Dior’s iconic 1947 Bar jacket, floral motifs, fabrics more associated with femininity as opposed to traditional menswear.
But this time around, Jones went deeper into that archival territory to play with the past and make it relevant to today. No outside influence or joining forces with rap stars, just the house itself, with a rendering of the Belle Époque grandeur of Paris as a backdrop. Dior distilled, if you will.
That sculptural bar jacket was evident on the catwalk, adapted to a man’s shape and double-breasted. Tailoring was a key component; serious, grown-up, pristine jackets and suits in lean proportions, employing Prince of Wales checks and visible seams that highlighted the making process of the storied Dior atelier.
That artisanal operation was employed by Jones to full effect, with the designer adopting couture techniques in the fluttering, intricate 3D flowers on tops and dustings of crystal embroidery on sweaters, shoes and gloves. ‘We went fully into that couture sphere, exploring fabrics that are more traditionally associated with women’s clothing, like tulle and organza’, said Jones. Other classic Diorisms included leopard print on jackets and jaunty berets created by master milliner Stephen Jones; well, Dior’s as typically Parisian as croque monsieur and aloof waiters.
It also marked a further shift towards proper, dressy sartorialism - as opposed to casual street style - that’s evident as a wider shift in men’s fashion at the moment, as we return back into the world and require some structure, form and uprightness. Mr Jones has just the solution for that, as evident in what was the best collection in his time at the house. He’s looked far and wide for influence and input in the past, but sometimes there’s no place like home.