Dior, by Dior. In his autobiography, Christian Dior reasoned that there are two Diors – the man, and the myth. The latter is the house of Christian Dior, born in 1947; the former, monsieur Dior himself. For his debut collection as artistic director of Dior men, Kim Jones has chosen to interpret the codes of monsieur Dior himself through the language of his couture house. It is a dual tribute – to the reality of Dior, and the fantasy.
Drawing inspiration from Christian Dior’s private life and his creative output, the collection represents a dialogue between these two sides of his personality. Couture has inspired the savoir-faire and informed the choice of materials – notably in a reference to the house of Dior itself, through the use of a toile de jouy chosen for the original boutique at 30 avenue Montaigne, decorated by Victor Grandpierre in 1947. A new Dior emblem, inspired by this heritage, it appears as jacquards and embroideries, on materials as diverse as tulle and soft leather, and executed in feathers.
Translating a quintessentially feminine couture identity into a masculine idiom results in clothes which are softer, with rounded shoulders and eased shapes. A slashed cowl is added to the back of shirts, exposing the nape of the neck. A new Dior jacket, the tailleur oblique, wraps the body in a diagonal line, a subtle reference to the shape of monsieur Dior’s autumn-winter 1950 collection. It is executed in featherweight cashmere and summer mohair, as well as in the british wools beloved of Christian Dior for his own wardrobe and those of his clientele. Combining tradition with modernity, Kim Jones fuses references to haute couture with sportswear, representative of contemporary masculinity.
Floral motifs are a constant. They echo both monsieur Dior’s love of nature, and his “femmes-fleurs”: they are actually drawn from his personal porcelain, the shapes reassembled into contemporary patterns for prints and embroideries.
Porcelain inspires the color palette, which also echoes monsieur Dior’s edwardian upbringing and love of the eighteenth century: blue, white, the pale pink of his childhood home at Granville, and the symbolic Dior gray.
Christian Dior stated that his identity as a couturier was actually not one man but many – a composite of people. Kim Jones draws on this same sense of community for his debut: Yoon of ambush has created the jewelry, employing Dior emblems such as the neoclassical ‘cd’, flowers and insects;
Kaws’ designs for bee motifs – a Dior men emblem – punctuate the collection as idiosyncratic embroideries and prints, reflecting monsieur Dior’s own observation: “you can never go wrong if you take nature as an example.”
Here, the inspiration is both the natural world, and the nature of Dior itself. It results in not only a new look, but a new outlook.