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Christian Dior Collaborates With the Ghost of Christian Dior

Kim Jones marks the 75th anniversary of the storied Paris house.

Kim Jones’s reputation as a constant collaborator–a visual artist like Peter Doig one season, Jack Kerouac’s estate and the mood of the Beat Generation another–means that his collections for Christian Dior, though generally consistent in silhouette and fabrics, take on an element of suspense in the days before each show. He teases things on Instagram, and fashion fans wonder who his muse or co-conspirator will be this time. Earlier this week, we were treated to rhinestones–a chandelier-web of them on a pair of gray gloves and glossy black shoes. It felt like a celebration of fashion itself. What creator is formidable enough to take on that?!

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the house founded by Christian Dior. So for Fall 2022, Jones decided to design the collection solo, kind of: “Kim Jones engages in the ultimate conversation and association,” the press notes read, “with that of Christian Dior himself.” It was basically Jones dancing with the ghost of the master, a spiritual collaboration, if you will. Christian Dior x Christian Dior.

“I wanted to look at the archive, at the purity of the beginnings of the house, at its original impulse,” Jones told GQ. “We looked at the initial collections and focused on the architecture, taking these elements and transforming them almost instinctively in a masculine way for today, always keeping the joie de vivre at the heart of Christian Dior’s clothing.”

Courtesy of Dior. Another rough-hewn Bar Jacket. Courtesy of Dior.

Dior is such a heavyweight name in fashion that it can be hard to know precisely what it means–the ideas the designer invented are so powerful, so fundamental to our understanding of luxury and savoir faire, that “Dior” is practically synonymous with fashion. He was a master of silhouette, of embellishment, of spectacle and fantasy; if you close your eyes and think “couture,” what you see is probably a big spangled strapless dress with a little waist and huge skirt, which was basically his bread and butter.

The Lily of the Valley. Courtesy of Dior. The Bar Jacket for men. Courtesy of Dior.

So Jones filled the collection with a few of Dior’s biggest signatures. There is the famous Bar jacket, the architectural “eight” silhouette with a nipped in waist and padded hips, reinterpreted for men with a softened wrapped shape. Dior’s beloved gray, the color of the Paris sky on a rainy day, was the foundation of the collection’s palette. The collection took place on a set modeled after a Paris bridge—a metaphor for Jones, but also reminiscent of many of the locations of the Richard Avedon photographs that cemented the Dior image. And then there were many of Dior’s own passions: the rose, the cannage print Dior derived from Parisian cane chairs, and the Lily of the Valley scent the designer loved. Even the Birkenstock collab was a nod to Dior, intended as a modern interpretation of the gardening shoes the designer wore while tending to his beds.

The cannage. Courtesy of Dior. The Birkenstocks! YANNIS VLAMOS

Part of what makes Jones’s approach to Dior so unique is his interest in Dior as a person, and as a personality beyond the huge, glossy name. He was a great reader, a gardener, and a believer in mysticism. He was a romantic, a glutton for textures, volume, and ideas. It makes the enormous spectacle of what Jones is doing, and the overwhelming luxury of the brand, into something human. When fashion is all about the reboot with a new twist, Jones cherishes that there is something everlasting, something classical, about Dior that transcends any one designer’s touch. Jones is a king of cool, and has redefined that word for the house by collaborating with Stussy and spotlighting the young Ghanian artist Amoako Boafo. But his insistence on approaching Dior as a historical figure, rather than as a system of codes to be revitalized by the designer of the moment, may be the most contemporary thing about him.


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