Kim Jones Re-Energizes the Futuristic Spirit of Dior Men’s

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„Emigrate or degenerate! The choice is yours!“

So chants the evangelist slogan across TV ads, print media, and government junk mail in the opening chapter of Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? It’s an agitprop that could spotlessly apply itself to the cosmopolitan design ethos of Kim Jones, whose installation at the house of Dior has exhilarated the men’s market in a single season. During his time at Louis Vuitton, Jones connected to the luggage brand’s lineage of travel and took us on a nonstop whirlwind around the globe. To remain in one place is akin to a stasis, in Jones’s view: the antithesis of fashion, which is taxed with nonstop evolution. It’s no surprise then, that the designer has come alive with his recent change in scenery, reenergizing Dior’s menswear with a newfound lightness and glamorous esprit. For his first Pre-Fall show, Jones escaped to Tokyo, tapping into the city’s deep aesthetic history of imagining a prototypical future, streamlined and dreamlike, hallmarks of the new Dior man. What transpired bred visions not only of emigrating to Japan, but off-planet.

Guests in Tokyo were greeted with T-shirts and monogrammed pouches featuring illustrations by the Japanese artist Hajime Sorayama, famous for his eroticized, 1980s depictions of chrome-plated femme-bots in suggestive, pin-up postures. At the show, a monolithic sculpture towered in the center of the stadium, basking in a shower of lasers worthy of a Blade Runner sequel. According to notes, the statue took 20 days to paint and weighs over 20,000 pounds, clocking in at around 40 feet in height. Appearing in the collection as an ethereal print motif, alongside cherry blossoms and Japanese-inspired foliages, the gynoid figure traffics a feminine edge into the men’s collection that feels newly confident for Jones. Long espousing inspirations such as queer culture, Leigh Bowery, and the drag scene, Jones might be the only designer who could cull A$AP Rocky into his front row wearing an angelic, sheer lace top. Jones’s tiny chrome Saddle Bags and silk kimono suits were as appealing to the rapper as they were to fellow front-rowers Bella Hadid and RuPaul all-star Detox, a sure a sign as any that these designs transcend the spectrum of gender attitudes and tastes.

That’s part of the aura of magic around Jones‘ installment at Christian Dior. With his first collection, for Spring 2019, I admired the way he coaxed millennial consumers into his orbit with the inclusion of Kaws, whose BFF character brightly refracts the playful street spirit he brought to his later collections at Vuitton. By engaging an audience more liable to wear sweatpants than silks, laces, and princely pastel suits, Jones was subtly telecasting a new elegance into the shared psyche of the Supreme generation. „I’ve been working with stuff that’s very street-orientated,“ Jones said. „That’s an important part of menswear. But for Dior I want it to become more elegant.“ This vision is one that bridges the couture past of the atelier with the future: sweatshirts and sunglasses sit next to etched calfskin, and exquisite quatrefoil floral prints. Jones honors the luxury devotees with upgrades in technique, while inspiring the idiosyncratic fashion flock with dynamic new collaborations—check out those chrome-dipped baseball caps courtesy of Steven Jones, or the Matthew Williams-conceived Alyx clasp buckles on the pockets of his evolved trousers (cargo pants have never looked so next-century).

And then there’s the maddeningly cool jewelry. Yoon Ahn’s second season for Dior took a new logo reinterpreted by Sorayama and turned it into dangly silver earrings, Henna-inspired droid-like adhesive showpieces, rings and chain necklaces that expanded the new language of bling around the brand, affording it extra hype. Ahn’s work for Dior furthers the narrative fusion of masculine and feminine—and precious and punk—to enticing effect. (When an earring fell off a model onto the runway, one male editor dove to the ground the second the show ended to snatch it up.)

As the show came to a close and guests including Kate Moss and David Beckham got up to dance with Japanese bloggers and local streetwear obsessives, amid cascades of lasers and a DJ set from Diplo, the mood in the Telecom Center building was refreshingly euphoric. For all the dystopian depictions of the future we’ve come to internalize, thanks as much to masters like Philip K. Dick as to the unavoidable malevolence of current events, Kim Jones begs to differ, offering a tonic to our current collective malaise. Perhaps he could write a new slogan of his own: Don’t degenerate, innovate!

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