Dior Men: Couture-gardener cool for 75th anniversary year
Kim Jones celebrated the 75th anniversary of the New Look with a sensational menswear collection, and a beautifully staged show for the house of Dior, winning him a standing ovation Friday afternoon in Paris.
The collection marked several collabs; one with Birkenstock, and another with Monsieur Dior himself, from his codes to his horticulture to his love of Paris. Seen in a fantastic set that recreated the city’s most iconic bridge, Pont Alexandre III, inside a giant show-tent in Place de la Concorde.
Dior’s DNA is now so deeply imbued in Jones he can riff on all the house’s codes – bar jacket, bar coat, early embroidery, cannage, crocodile or leopard – yet it always looks fresh and new and very Kim Dior.
Monsieur Dior, a huge fan of British tailoring, loved Prince of Wales check, and Jones revived that with perfectly cut six-button blazers and suits with a clever clin d’oeil, measuring strips hidden under the lapel, that appear disco dragoon style on chill evenings. Throughout his tailoring was unexpected and flattering. Dior used to be a source of classic French blue suits for CEOs and their aspiring lieutenants. Under Jones it has become a tailoring powerhouse.
Though always taking plenty of risks, Jones celebrated Dior’s legendary New Look show, staged on Feb. 17, 1947, three quarters of a century ago.
“And it is also 25 years since Mr. Stephen Jones has been at the house,” Jones explained in a pre-show preview.
Quipped master hatter Stephen Jones, in response: “I started here when I was 3! They took me away from London.”
Continued Kim Jones: “Stephen has been a friend of mine for a long time and a hero to me. He is also the oracle of Dior. So, we had a chat about what the ultimate collaboration would be? And he said the ultimate collaboration would be a conversation with Christian Dior.”
The result was a great series of berets in big-cat prints in multiple forms – tam, flat top, decorated military, skullcap and cloche.
Jones also played with the complex patterns, like leaf-shaped collars which morphed into cool wind-jammers in Jones’ Dior, an echo also of Kim’s own short double-breasted jackets in early collections for his own line two decades ago.
If Monsieur Dior loved anything more than fashion it was his gardens, and Jones paid homage to horticultural haute couture with gardening pants, and a gardener’s jacket plucked from the archive, tied nonchalantly at the waist. He even showed hand-embroidered Miss Dior silk flower sweatshirts. Topped by a sweater in organza and fleece, beautifully hand-finished with delicate flowers, taken from a 1953 couture summer dress.
“People want couture for men. They keep buying it and I think in a way when you sell pieces at high prices in small volumes that is the most sustainable thing you can do. And that is something I care about a lot,” insisted Kim.
Plus, there was a new collab with Birkenstock. Though, no brand has injected more of a luxe element into a partnership with the German marque than Dior. The new felt Birkenstock clogs came embroidered.
“I do a bit of gardening. And I love the idea of being in a great garden. But I have got gardeners to do it. I just don’t have the time anymore,” shrugged Jones, who besides Dior is the women’s couturier of Fendi in Rome.
Jones also amped up the high-end jewelry with diamond and emerald bracelet from the house’s fine jeweler Victoire de Castellane, “the most expensive thing we’ve ever done.” Along with some great silver costume jewelry by Yoon, featuring pearl gray worry beads; white pearl brooches; leaf-shaped key rings; and, of course, lots of stars, beloved by the hyper superstitious Monsieur.
Climaxed by a standing ovation, Kim generously took his bow with Stephen. It was a triumphant moment, establishing him surely as the single most influential designer working in menswear today.
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