Dior Men's Fall 2021 will make you want to get dressed up again
Kim Jones collaborated with legendary street artist Kenny Scharf on Dior Men's Fall 2021 collection. The result is a reminder that there's a world beyond track pants and slippers.
Courtesy of Dior
Dior’s Fall 2021 menswear collection was supposed to be shown in Beijing, but that was before … well, you know. Instead, Kim Jones scaled back his show and revealed it to the world today. “99.9 per cent of people see a show through a screen anyway,” he pointed out in a virtual preview. “Why make a film, when you could just record a show which is how people would normally see it?”
A fashion show, after all, is a medium unto itself and Kim’s latest collection is full of clothes that warrant a confident parade down a catwalk. A collaboration with legendary Downtown street artist Kenny Scharf (he was a contemporary of Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat) it’s full of joyous bursts of candy-like colour and irreverent graphics, inspired by comic books and pop culture cartoons. If it feels purposefully optimistic or mood-lifting, that’s no coincidence. “I wanted to make something uplifting, something that is light relief from this strange world we’re living in and for everyone to have ten minutes to just forget everything,” Kim continued. “It’s really about taking that attitude of the joie de vivre that Christian Dior built the house on after World War II.”
Clothes to look forward to wearing, in other words. Beautiful, elegant, perfectly tailored clothes that remind us there’s a world beyond the sartorial doldrums of our track pants and worn-out pyjamas. Much like his womenswear counterpart Maria Grazia Chiuri, Kim has made artist collaborations a tentpole of his creative directorship at the monolithic French house. Kenny Scharf follows in the footsteps of collaborations with KAWS, Daniel Arsham, Raymond Pettibon, Hajime Sorayama, Amoako Boafo and Shawn Stussy. What they all have in common is that their work is transposed onto Dior’s house classics with an immense amount of craftsmanship that make the resulting pieces artworks in themselves. A lot of it is only possible chez Dior, courtesy of its robust couture workshops — and it’s made all the more interesting because Kim’s taste is more downtown than, say, anything you’d find in the National Gallery.
“It’s completely immersive with the artist because it’s about respecting what they do,” he explains. “One of the things I do miss about doing a show is that people don’t get to see the huge amount of work that goes into the pieces.” He points out that the squiggly belts with Kenny’s squidgy little characters that punctuate the tailoring are all seed-embroidered, an ancient process that takes hundreds, if not thousands, of hours — as do the chrysanthemum corsages made from Lemarié feathers, or the lace gloves neatly tucked into waistbands. It’s all about bringing the wonders of haute couture to men’s wardrobes — and turning those wardrobes into gallery walls.
So how has lockdown changed Kim’s approach to making such beautiful clothes? Well, the hallmarks of his vision for Dior — blindingly elegant menswear with a slight twist of streetwear — comes with a slightly more relaxed feel this season, given that we’ve all been cosying up at home and will be for the foreseeable. There are fuzzy monogram slippers with matching socks, pyjama-like silk jumpsuits, boxy military jackets and, though there are plenty of those famous whittled waists with statement belts and big satin bows at the back, the silhouettes of the tailoring are more generous, the trousers wider and abbreviated, worn with polo tops in lieu of crisp shirts. “It’s a bit more louche, a bit more COVID-friendly, shall we say,” he laughs. “It’s that thing of being in lockdown, and when you come out of it, you want to be dressed up but still have the ease and comfort that you’ve gotten used to. I have friends who haven’t gotten changed in three days.” If there’s anything that could coax them, and indeed us, to step into something brighter and more beautiful, let it be this.