meet daniel arsham, the latest artist to collaborate with kim jones at dior
In an exclusive interview, Daniel talks about his work for the latest Dior menswear collection and set.
Photography Adrien Dirand
From punk illustrator Raymond Pettibon to street artist KAWS, Kim Jones has already defined his era at Dior with his love of collaborating with artists. And this season is no exception. This time around, hr enlisted Daniel Arsham (the American artist famed for his warped architectural designs and installations) to work on both the spring/summer 20 collection as well as its accompanying set and logo. Once more Kim has imbued his work with concepts far grander than straight-up fashion, weaving together a spectrum of ideas that span various disciplines.
Encompassing art, film and architecture, Daniel’s work has always looked firmly to the future: just take the work that inspired the Dior collaboration, Future Relics, a nine-part installation series he described as “nine vignettes that take place over a long period of time”, set in an imagined dystopia where all the objects we use now have become obsolete fossils. From the vast logos outside the show, to the ephemera of Christian Dior’s office -- all reimagined in geological material -- the spring/summer 20 is an attempt to project what Dior might look like thousands of years down the line.
“I've been a fan of what Kim has been doing for the last few years,” Daniel explains of their collaboration. “The only other thing I've really done for him before is for the magazine, A Magazine Curated by... I made drawings of Christian Dior's dog, Kim’s dog, the dog that's in my studio, Dexter. We were working a lot just by sending things through text message. He reached out and asked me if I'd be interested in doing this.” Here, Daniel tells us everything you need to know about the latest Dior collaboration.
Tell us about what you helped create for this collection?
We spent a lot of time in the Dior archive, looking back at designs and objects that were created either by Mr Dior himself or in the house, starting from the 50s really. So I think a lot of inspiration came from there. A lot of the collection was about identifying these iconic pieces, from the house. A clock that had been in Christian Dior's atelier in Paris, a phone that was on his desk in his house in the south of France.
And reinterpreting these objects as archaeological relics; think about them as things that might have been found one thousand, ten thousand years from now. There's a material shift in these objects, I've recreated them in different types of crystal: quartz, selenite, blue and pink calcite. Through this transformation, almost like an alchemic transformation, these objects begin to have a kind of true age to them. Kim took a lot of the material exploration that I work with, both in these works and in my larger practice, as inspiration for a lot of the collection, just referencing different aspects of work that I've made in the past and weaving it throughout the collection.
You said previously you make architecture do things it isn't supposed to do -- could the same be said of clothes?
I mean, there's a lot of beautiful craftsmanship in the work that Kim and Stephen Jones have made for this collection, I think they've managed to transform some of the technique and visual appearance of the crystallisation in my work, the disruption of surfaces and really do a full-on material exploration. They've done things with the collection I didn't really think were possible in the beginning, especially with the jewellery, which Yoon from Ambush worked on. She's achieved this kind of miraculous matte quality with inset crystals, so the jewellery pieces almost look like they've been pulled out of the ground in the future. Aged, but beautifully so.
How much has fashion informed your work previously?
I have so many friends in fashion. Probably more than those who are quote-unquote visual artists. I just find the pace of it inspiring; the ways designers use the material, the things you wear, how they make you feel, their function, their lack of function and the play with history. I watched my friends build their artistry over the last number of years and have certainly been inspired by it.